IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - The College of Eastern Idaho's science club committed to cleaning up the school this Earth Day.
With the help of the campus student senate and several Biology instructors, they were able to organize the second school clean-up.
This year they focused on a section of the school often overlooked.
"There's a small strip of land on the east side of hit road that is going to be developed into a research and learning laboratory and grounds and maintenance don't really get to hit those areas," Biology Instructor and Science Club Faculty Liason Pam O'Hearn said. "So we're going to keep those clean so that we can use them for research and enjoyment."
CEI plans to use the strip as an outdoor environmental study space for the science club and biology students.
Students will use the canal to conduct water and soil studies and plant a community food forest.
"The whole process of a food forest is you take plants that don't necessarily grow all by themselves," science club member Loretta Rodman said. "But you plant them with other plants that help maintain them."
Members of the science club plan to grow beans, corn, squash and other edible foods for the homeless and other members of the community.
The aspect of growing a free food source excites members of the club.
"I really love when you can put stuff together and they just survive on their own because they really do have that drive to survive. We just have to give them the ability," Rodman said.
The new space will benefit other apsects of the community as well.
Biology instructors at CEI plan to research soil and water samples with their students to test for microplastics and other harmful pollutants.
"Plastics in the Environment Act as environmental estrogens, there are a hormone substitute so they really can change the hormone flux in all of organic-living-organisms, be it plants or animals. But if we think in humans, testosterone and estrogen are of critical importance, they're closely related, and these plastics can get in and disrupt both of those and their normal activity," O'Hearn said.
They believe the research they do in the space will show what steps community members can take to improve their own enviornments.
"Just simple steps that can be taken to somebody's home or to small farms and ranches that are cheap, easy and beneficial," O'Hearn said.