Student organization continues commitment to environment through lake cleanup

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Positive Energy at Canonsburg Lake
Members of Penn State’s Positive Energy student group cleaned up several acres of Canonsburg Lake in southwestern Pennsylvania, in a partnership with the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission and the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Cares program. Image provided by Adam Larson.
April 28, 2017
 Eleven members of Penn State’s Positive Energy student group cleaned up several acres of Canonsburg Lake in southwestern Pennsylvania, in a partnership with the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission and the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Cares program.
 
Positive Energy, a student group that’s part of the University’s student chapter of SPE, organizes community service events aimed at giving back to the environment.
 
The group chose the lake because of its rich ecosystem and wildlife. Once they arrived at the lake and distributed trash bags, the students spent the day combing through the woods and shorelines of the 76-acre lake to bag and remove litter.
 
Matthew Watson, a sophomore petroleum and natural gas engineering student in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences emphasized the impact outreach activities like this can have.
 
“Everyone has a responsibility to care for the environment and to maintain these places,” he said. “It’s important for clubs like ours to lend a hand in these efforts and to take part in something bigger than ourselves.”
 
Watson lauded the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge outside of the classroom.
 
“Being a student isn’t just about what you learn in the classroom,” said Watson. “It’s also about getting your hands dirty and volunteering in the real world.”
 
Since it formed in 2015, the organization has spent every Earth Day giving back to the community. Last year, the group planted 200 trees in Rothrock State Forest.
 
Positive Energy has more than 100 members and has completed several environmental projects. The group adopted and maintains a road near Black Moshannon State Park, has planted more than 400 trees across the state, and partners with ClearWater Conservancy, a conservation organization in Central Pennsylvania, to mitigate erosion on a 5-acre plot of farmland. Positive Energy members visit the area monthly to plant trees and monitor conditions.