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A line on conservation
Eagle Scout's project goes a long way in clearing waters of monofilament mess


05/10/07 By Elizabeth Shaw [email protected] • 810.766.6311

GENESEE TWP. - The next time you're fishing at a Genesee County park, don't just walk by the new funny-looking white PVC pipe fixture standing next to the dock.

Stuff your used fishing line inside.

The new monofilament recycling bins were installed this spring at nine popular fishing sites, thanks to a team of student volunteers led by Grand Blanc High School senior Tyler Kieffer, 18.

Parks recreation program specialist Nancy Edwards suggested the bins when Tyler approached her at a school career fair, looking for ideas for an Eagle Scout project this spring.

An avid angler herself, Edwards long had noted the mess made by discarded piles of tangled fishing line. Besides being unsightly, monofilament is a serious hazard to wildlife, which can get tangled in it.

The recycled monofilament will be shipped to the Berkley Conservation Institute to create artificial underwater fish habitat structures.

Since 1993, Berkly Fish-Habs have been used to increase fish populations in reservoirs and lakes throughout the nation.

"We're all about preserving and conserving our natural resources. That's part of our mission, and you lead by example," said Edwards. "We'd been talking about ways to green up the parks, and this seemed like a natural."

The project was a perfect fit for Tyler, whose personal fish tales already include being bit in the nose by an angry pike and hooked in the back of the neck by his dad.

"For years, I'd always go fishing with my grandpa at Holloway. One of his favorite hobbies is collecting lures people lose, so you'd see all the line left everywhere and some of the damage it does," he said.

"It gets tangled up in people's boat motors, tangled up on the fish and other animals - not to mention it's not fun to look at all, especially when it catches up other stuff and forms these big ugly clusters of stuff."

Edwards provided the construction plans while Tyler put together material lists and recruited assembly help from his Environmental Investigations class at the GASC Technology Center.

The project cost about $200, he said, with an anonymous source donating all the PVC pipe while family and friends pitched in to help cover the rest.

After parks staff identified sites for the bins, Tyler's friends and fellow Scouts helped install them in early April.

"This was a dream project for us. The only thing I had to do was tell him where we wanted the bins placed, and he pretty much did the rest," said Edwards, chuckling. "His commitment and follow-through to the project were perfect."

Tyler hopes it's only the beginning of an outdoors career.

He plans to attend a local community college for two years and then transfer to Lake Superior State University to earn a degree in natural resources management. Someday he'd like to work in an administrative position for the state or federal Department of Natural Resources.

In the meantime, he's eager to make sure the recycling bins are as much of a success as he hopes.

"The day we were installing them, we were already picking up line and putting it in. But these things look kind of funny so, I'm not sure if people will know what they're for unless someone tells them," he said. "But I'm pretty sure I'll be out there a few times this summer checking on them, to see if they're full."
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