Largo Middle School Students Adopt City Park
A group of environmentally conscious students recently adopted and cleaned up Largo's newest park.
Walking around the Bayhead Complex ponds during summer camp near downtown Largo, eighth-grader Dylan Bonneface realized how much trash was in the water.
"Many people in society don't realize how much we pollute the world. I think it's important to clean up the earth before it gets too late," Bonneface said in a phone interview.
As a part of Largo Middle School's 4-H club, Bonneface decided the ponds would be the perfect cleanup project, and he approached the City of Largo's Parks Department. Park Superintendent Greg Brown thought the cleanup was a great idea.
"The ponds went from 'I don't even want to look at it' to perfectly clear," Brown said.
A group of students from Largo Middle School's 4-H club, with club adviser Kathy Madzimbamuto, spent a recent morning in the water cleaning up the park, which is now called the Bayhead Ponds Park. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission loaned the city 35 kayaks to help with the cleanup, Brown said.
The adoption of the park, which includes cleanups two times each year, fit well with the teaching of 4-H, which include citizenship and service to the greater community, Madzimbamuto said.
The students picked up at least 1,000 pieces of trash, Brown said.
"How can we help and what can we do?" are questions 4-H students learn to ask, Madzimbamuto said.
Origin of the Bayhead Ponds Park
The new park is part of a city stormwater project. The drainage ponds provide about 163 acres in the West Bay Drive area with stormwater retention and treatment. The new recreational trail was part of a recent drainage system replacement project, which includes a new irrigation system for the park.
In August, the Largo City Commission approved the first part of the drainage and trail project. This month the commission approved new plantings for the project. The project includes about 500 trees and 12 park benches, Brown said.
The new Bayhead Ponds Park should be complete by the end of December. A fish release and grand opening will be held some time next month, Brown said.
The new park is similar to the Highland Lake Park, which opened in February. Both parks have the dual function of recreation and water treatment. The drainage systems help protect Florida's waterways, Brown said.