Our stewardship event “SUP and Clean Up” was a major success! Although the weather forecast was not what we were expecting – it turned out to be a great day to be out on the water. 30 participants came out to learn about Leave No Trace principles and pick up trash around a popular James Madison University camping spot. We set up camp at Switzer Lake located in the George Washington National Forest; 30 minutes away from JMU’s campus.

The campsite had a beautiful view of the lake. After set-up, participants split into two groups. One group learning about Leave No Trace principles, and another group getting to work filling bags with trash. After the groups switched roles, we had a total of 4 large trash bags filled with trash found around the campsite. It was great to hear the debrief after the clean-up with participants acknowledging the importance of keeping our national, state, and local forests and parks clean. 

After working hard participants set out on the water. We brought stand-up paddleboards and canoes to explore the lake. We had a few participants take a polar plunge losing balance on some SUPs, but luckily back at camp, a fire was crackling to warm up. Participants enjoyed roasting hot dogs and smores. It was amazing seeing how the outdoors can bring people closer together. This event created new appreciation and awareness of our environment, as well as many new friendships.