Volunteers aim to keep Thompson Lake free of trash

Volunteers spent three hours at Thompson Lake for the Amarillo Zoo's Lake Clean Up Project.

Volunteers collected nearly one ton of trash for Amarillo Zoo's annual Thompson Lake Clean Up Project.

Monica Trevino woke her entire family up early for what she considers a "family day."

"These kids have to know how important it is to keep places like this clean," Trevino said. "We are here a few times a week."

But the Trevino family decided to make a full day's work, a day of light competition between brothers and sisters. It was a trash-pick up competition.

"It was a challenge to see who could get the most," Trevino said.

In Texas littering is against the law, and persons caught littering can be fined up to $500. Zoo officials said the reason they encourage families to attend the event is to get children thinking about where trash comes from.

"Part of this is beautification for the park and visitors," Zoo Educator Haley Wilde said. "But a big part of it is for animal welfare."

Wilde said because littering is not only damaging to the environment but to the animals, the annual event is hands-on for a reason.

"We want to try and pick up every piece of trash that may have any kind of chemical on it," Wilde said.

The event is something the zoo chooses to organize each year, and so far it has proved to be a success.