The effort was a part of GHS's "One School, One Book" program. Students recently read "From the Bottom Up: One Man's Crusade to Clean America's Rivers" by Chad Pregracke.
"It's a biography," explained chemistry and integrated physics and chemistry teacher Khristen Phillips, who chairs GHS's Reading Comprehension Committee. "When (Pregracke) was 17, he decided the Mississippi River was dirty and he needed to clean it up. The book talks about some of the struggles he had, and also has some really funny stories."
In keeping with the theme of the book, Phillips and her students decided to "do our own kind of river clean-up," Phillips said.
The students were amazed at the amount of trash they pulled from the banks of Big Walnut Creek and from the creek itself.
"I just wanted to do something to help the environment," said freshman Sarah Martin. "The trees are dying … it's nothing but tires and trash back here."
Junior Porschia Williams agreed.
"I hang out back here with my friends sometimes, and it's really bad," she said. "Plus, doing this will look good on my college applications."
The students involved in the project are working with representatives from the city of Greencastle and DePauw University's environmental clubs.
They plan on doing additional environmental projects, including a tree giveaway in the spring.
"The purpose of the committee is to find ways to get kids to read," Phillips said. "The activities that go along with 'One School, One Book' are not really connected to any class. Some teachers are doing environmentally-themed units and activities that connect back to the book, but activities like this clean-up are strictly extracurricular. I am very proud of these kids."