Members of the Twin Lakes Audubon Society from Belton, gathered at the Cantonment B pond, also known as the Kid’s Pond, located across Interstate 14 from Central Texas College, Oct. 26 during Make a Difference Day.

They collected trash scattered within and along the pond shoreline. Fort Hood’s annual Make a Difference Day 2019 was the second consecutive year this local birding club worked to clean the area for future users. “Birding” is short for bird-watching. TLAS President Elaine Horton, explained the importance of the civic group’s participation at this year’s event.

“Fort Hood is a cool place to bird. We are very thankful that they (Fort Hood) have allowed us to take birding field trips there. Fort Hood was my first field trip after I joined TLAS and I was hooked,” Horton said. “The Kid’s Pond clean-up for Make a Difference Day is a great opportunity for us to give back to Fort Hood for their generosity. We can help ensure that birds and other animals that may come to the pond are not harmed by trash that may be in or around the water.

The outdoor clean-up event was another chance to observe fall bird migration and was organized to potentially recruit new members to their organization.

“We get an opportunity to point out some birds to other volunteers. It’s great that Fort Hood provides this pond for kids,” Horton said. “We’re glad that we can help keep it a place where kids will want to come and enjoy being outdoors.”

TLAS members used repurposed wildlife corn sacks accumulated by the Directorate of Public Works Natural and Cultural Resources Management Branch to gather and remove the refuse. Collectively, they removed 66 pounds of trash including almost eight pounds of recycle items such as bottles and cans. Other discarded items included plastic containers, paper materials, mosquito repellent aerosol cans, fishing line, and Styrofoam fish bait containers.

The Kids Pond clean-up was led by long-time local-birder and former DPW Natural and Cultural Resources Management Branch employee, Gil Eckrich, who is now in his sixth year serving as a volunteer.

“It was pretty cold early, but it was fun. We had a smaller (fewer than last year), but great group of folks and it turned out to be a nice day. We are thankful we can add this effort to the overall Fort Hood Make a Difference Day efforts organized by the Army Volunteer Corps,” Eckrich said.

Fort Hood’s Make a Difference Day events are organized by the AVC program manager Diane Williams and volunteer program coordinator CarolAnn Hone.

In order to fish at Cantonment B pond, users must accompany a youth fisherman 9-16 years of age. Everyone must have current state fishing licenses/endorsements, Fort Hood fishing permits and area access permits. Contact the Sportsmen’s Center at 254-532-4552 for fishing and permit details.