Local students assist with cleanup at Fairport Fish Hatchery

MUSCATINE, Iowa–56 students from Adam Crews’ Louisa-Muscatine Junior-Senior High School conservation class and Dave Tometich’s Muscatine High School forestry class and 23 adult volunteers assisted the Friends of the Fairport Fish Hatchery at their first of two fall cleanup days Sept. 17. The volunteers helped remove weeds and dirt deposits from the foundation of the old pump house and spread woodchips along sections of a new interpretative trail under construction.

Friends of the Fairport Fish Hatchery member Paul Carroll helped write a Toyota/NSBF grant that will allow the group to continue work on the site and invited the student volunteers to assist with the first cleanup. Gary Whitacre of Martin-Whitacre Surveyors, Menards, Sycamore Printing, and Levi Lemon of Lemon Landscapes all donated labor or supplies to help with the project. Pizza Ranch provided 28 discounted pizza for the volunteers’ lunches.

Melanie Harkness of the Iowa DNR spoke with students about invasive plant species that affect the Fairport Fish Hatchery and nearby areas. Dustin Joy, director of the National Pearl Button Museum @ History and Industry Center, and Lynn Pruitt of the Muscatine County Historic Conservation Preservation Commission and the Friends of the Fairport Fish Hatchery, and Sandy Stevens of the Friends of the Fairport Fish Hatchery all presented to volunteers about the significance of the site and of its past and current research. They also discussed their further plans for developing an interoperative pavilion and trail system.

In the future, the friends of the Fairport Fish Hatchery hope to host additional work days and potentially participate in a multi-year conservation program to help remove common invasive species from the site.