Senior project morphs into big Lake Bistineau cleanup

Updated: Nov. 4, 2017 at 7:11 PM CDT
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LAKE BISTINEAU, LA (KSLA) - A 17-year-old Haughton High School student turned her senior project into a massive cleanup effort Saturday at Lake Bistineau.

Abby Turner says she remembered the moment a few months back when she spotted lots of trash in and around Lake Bistineau and wasn't happy about it.

So Turner turned Lake Bistineau's garbage problem into her senior project at Haughton High and began planning for a modest cleanup day effort.

After all her planning and preps, three to four dozen volunteers turned out to help her clean up Bistineau.

"We've just really tried to get it (out) publicly. I had a robocall that went out to all the people around here. And so that's how we've gotten the word out," explained Turner.

And beyond local media reports on the cleanup project that she says helped as well, Turner made her volunteer pitch on the Facebook page of District 36 state Sen. Ryan Gatti, of Bossier City.

Gatti says he's a believer when it comes to Turner's abilities and was glad to help.

"When you really know you've found a leader is when people come on a Saturday morning," started Gatti, "when it's overcast, thousands of other things to do and they're in their mud boots picking up trash on islands like this one."

In fact, Turner says her biggest and most pleasant surprise involved the large turnout of volunteers.

"I didn't know how many people would actually get involved and try to help me and, you know, get the word out."

For their part, volunteers said they heard the message asking for their help loud and clear.

Those included Turner family friend Rusty Williford, who took KSLA News 12 crews on a short boat ride to show us cleanup areas.

"There's a lot of trash. It's going to make a difference," said Williford.

The owner of Best Waste Services volunteered the use of his garbage trucks for the cleanup effort and estimated their haul at several tons of trash - all to keep Lake Bistineau a great place to visit.

The cleanup got underway at 10 a.m. and continued through 3 p.m. on both sides of the lake.

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