Memories & Milestones |

Memories & Milestones

Holly Keesee

Coal Ridge senior works to beautify Squirrel Valley Shooting Range

Coal Ridge High School senior Holly Keesee loves to be outdoors and often goes to the Squirrel Valley shooting range to run with her dogs and shoot. One sunny day last fall, after driving up to Squirrel Valley and noticing the huge dump piles others had left behind, she decided she wanted to do something about the trash that litters the area. Holly contacted the BLM and arranged to volunteer picking up trash there as her senior seminar project.

Holly drives up with trash bags in her free time and picks all the trash she can. During her project, she’s learned a lot about what dumping means for the environment. Trash pollutes the habitat, attracts pests and presents hazards for animals and children (Holly remembers gashing her knee on beer bottle shards left behind at a shooting range with her dad when she was young). It can also be toxic. Freezers give off harmful gases like chlorofluorocarbons, and older appliances can seep out polychlorinated biphenyls, which are proven to cause cancer in animals (like those we hunt and eventually eat). But ultimately, the trash spoils the views we expect to see when we go into nature, and nobody likes to go into the great outdoors and see such an appalling view.

As her senior seminar comes to a close and she heads to college next year, Holly knows she will continue her mission to conserve the environment. She says she hopes everyone who uses Squirrel Valley and other outdoor areas will be respectful and think twice before dumping after reading this. “I’ve picked up over 500 pounds of trash and encourage you to pick up your trash, too,” Holly said. “If you’d like to get involved, contact the BLM. It does more for you and your neighbors than you could imagine.”

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