Lincoln, Neb. —John Sump, Lancaster County 4-H member, has been recognized with a Nebraska 4-H Gives Back Award for coordinating clean-up efforts at eight local Natural Resources District (NRD) lakes.
"John not only gave of his personal time and resources but also helped others see the importance of being a good steward of the land," said Kathleen Lodl, Nebraska state 4-H program administrator.
During the pandemic, John noticed an increased use of local NRD lakes. He also observed a corresponding increase in trash and litter around the recreation areas. With support from representatives at the Lower Platte South NRD and Nebraska Game and Parks Southeast District Fisheries Office, John coordinated trash pickups at all eight NRD lakes in Lancaster County. He recruited help from Catfish Crazy Nebraska, Nebraska Kayak Club, Boy Scouts Troop 22, family, and friends.
"I learned how to lead a big event, which involved the organization of several volunteers and the collection of donations," said John.
While coordinating the lake clean-ups, John discovered that most local NRD lakes did not have fishing line recycling receptacles. After securing donations from local sponsors, John made and installed sixteen fishing line recycling tubes, two at each location. Follow-up visits revealed that the recycling tubes were being used at almost every location.
“Through his homemade recycling tubes and lake clean-up at all lakes, he is helping provide a better space for all,” said Tracy Anderson, Lancaster County 4-H extension educator.
The Nebraska 4-H Gives Back Award celebrates the spirit of service-learning. The program recognizes youth who have made significant and lasting impacts in their community. 4-H members create, coordinate, and implement a service-learning project of lasting impact and significant size or scope.
“We invite youth to submit project proposals that showcase the application of their time and talents in service to their community,” says Jill Lingard, Nebraska 4-H Gives Back program coordinator.
For more information about the Nebraska 4-H Gives Back Awards program, please visit 4h.unl.edu/ne4h-gives-back.