Key Club Cleans 63rd Street Beach

Hillcrest Key Club Cleans 63rd Street Beach

On September 20, 2019, 26 Hillcrest High School Key Club Students traveled with Hillcrest teacher and club sponsor Amy Trench to 63rd Street Beach in Chicago. Students then proceeded to clean up 50 pounds of garbage and glass that had been littered onto the beach. The beach clean project was headed by the Shedd Aquarium who has been working with Hillcrest High School's Key Club for four years now.

"We try and help the Shedd out when the beaches close in the fall and when they open in the spring," says Trench. "This year we were actually scheduled to do a forest restoration project, but the day we chose ended up being too hot to burn anything so we switched to a beach clean instead."

The Shedd generously provided students transportation to the clean-up location for the day. Once there, Shedd staff educated volunteers on the repercussions of garbage and glass on the beach and in the water. They also explained the cleanup process to students who were split into small groups. Everyone wore gloves and appointed one group member to log all of their findings while they separated trash from plastic and glass that needed to be recycled.

At the end of the day, all groups come together and the findings were weighed and taken by the Shedd staff. This year, the Shedd also surprised students by gifting a Shedd Aquarium bandanna as well as a family pass for students.

"The students were so excited that they could bring their whole family," says Trench

Goodies and rewards aside, Trench says the trip was meaningful in several ways. "Many of the students have never been to the beach so just to experience the lakefront was a great time. For me, personally, my favorite part is seeing the kids relax, have fun, and be a part of something so positive and bigger than themselves."