CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Emily Johnson gingerly climbed down a wet, steep bank to Mouse Creek in front of the Village Green business center Saturday.
The Bradley Central High School student struggled to get a full-sized car tire out of the water and wrestle it back up the bank.
Upstream, other students from Cleveland High School were getting into the creek at Raider Drive to work their way downstream.
Mouse Creek got a fall cleanup Saturday, thanks to the efforts of young people from both schools.
Why go to all that effort?
"I just don't like seeing things lying on the ground like that,'' Johnson said.
Classmates Sarah Wilcox, Morgan Bower and others from Bradley Central also sloshed along the creek.
The fall cleanup is part of the Cleveland and Bradley County stormwater runoff programs, too.
"They will pull out tires, buggies, bumpers, batteries, sign posts,'' said Debra Jenkins, with the Bradley County storm program. "Every year, people toss more in. ... We usually have 30 to 40 bags of garbage plus all these bigger items."
Teacher Lou Ann Carey was leading the Bradley Central students.
Mouse Creek flows through some of Cleveland's busiest areas, she said, including the popular Cleveland/Bradley Greenway and the heavy traffic of Keith Street.
Upstream, boys and girls from Cleveland High were suiting up in waders to begin their sweep.
"We have always had a group of Cleveland High School students who are very invested in the Environmental Club,'' said teacher Jeannie Cuervo.
"But the Environmental Club has grown dramatically. We also do recycling. The amount of recycling we are doing at Cleveland High School is incredible to the point that all the students and teachers have a raised awareness.''