Everest University’s Larry Granberry fishes trash out of the water at the Nature Preserve at Largo Central Park during a cleanup April 22.
LARGO – The Nature Preserve at Largo Central Park received special attention on Earth Day as Everest University-Largo gave its adopted park a cleanup.
On April 22, students, faculty and staff grabbed rubber gloves and garbage bags for three hours of trash pickup at the park, situated at 150 Highland Ave. SE.
“We adopted the Largo Central Park Nature Preserve two years ago as a way to give back,” said Todd Emmons, coordinator of the regular park cleanup and massage therapy instructor at Everest University-Largo. “Part of the soft skills we teach at Everest is the importance of volunteering and doing something good for the community where we live.”
The Largo Recreation, Parks and Arts Department erected a plaque to Everest for its dedication in keeping the Nature Preserve clean. Everest works closely with Greg Wright, parks supervisor, to help rid the park of pollution. Its 31 acres are home to more than 130 species of birds. The American alligator, otters, the red fox, wild turkeys, marsh rabbits and bats all feed or live in the park.
Much of the garbage accumulates in the Nature Preserve’s marshlands, where it is carried by surface water runoff.
Studies show that volunteering provides physical and mental rewards, including mood lifts and stress relief. It brings people together, promotes personal growth and helps students better understand the makeup of the community where they live. Most importantly, students who have low self-esteem gain a new perspective. They learn their value by seeing they are needed and that every person counts.
Everest University’s Largo campus is at 1199 E. Bay Drive, Largo. For more information, visit www.everest.edu.