Bedford Public Schools program for park upkeep presented

Idea seeks to get students involved


TEMPERANCE — The Bedford Public Schools Board of Education is expected to sign on to a new park-improvement program that would put students to work after class picking up litter, pulling weeds and raking leaves, and participating in other projects to keep the township’s parks looking their best.

Adopt-A-Park is the brainchild of Sally Dunn, a township park commissioner who presented it to the school board at its committee of the whole meeting last week.

“It’s important that our young people learn to be park stewards, stewards of our land,” she said.

She said that the program would “run heavily” in the fall and spring and use volunteers from the high school and junior high working under an adult supervisor or team leader.

The township has six parks, and each is assigned to a park commissioner. Under the program, each park commissioner will work with a team leader. The team leaders will be responsible for recruiting and training students. Joe Moore, a sixth-grade teacher at the junior high, is to be the first team leader.

Ms. Dunn said Heidtman Steel Products offered to donate materials for park cleanups and the program would purchase such items as trash pickers, trash bags, gloves, caps, vests, and T-shirts for volunteers. She predicted the students would profit from their experience by becoming civically engaged.

School board president Michael Smith and board member Tim Brakel expressed their support for Adopt-A-Park. The proposal was put on the agenda for Thursday’s regular meeting.

In other business, the board agreed that all school buildings should have the same procedures for receiving visitors. Superintendent Mark Kleinhans credited new board member Lisa Beins-McCaig for noting that each building processed visitors its own way and suggesting more consistency. The district is in the process of deciding how to upgrade building security.

Ms. Beins-McCaig, 43, was chosen from six applicants last week to fill the seat vacated by Shawna Smith, who resigned for health reasons. Her term expires Dec. 31, 2014.

She and her husband, Jim, live in Temperance with their three children, all of whom are students in the Bedford district.

Ms. Beins-McCaig is a 1988 graduate of Bedford High School. She graduated from Michigan State University in 1993 and earned a master’s degree in project management from George Washington University.

Ms. Beins-McCaig has worked for the American Red Cross for 19 years. She is now the director of customer relationship management, process improvement in the national sales and marketing office in Washington, and works from her home. In March, the Red Cross gave her its Presidential Award of Excellence, an annual award that is the nonprofit agency’s highest internal honor.