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Youth cleans up 72 tires, trash to earn Eagle Scout achievement

Today’s MI Environment story is courtesy of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

A truckload of 72 tires and other trash had lingered for years in a forested area near Big Long Lake in Osceola County. It was finally cleared in October due to the efforts of one person. 

Cole Sherman, Eagle Scout, who worked on a scrap tire project. Courtesy of DNR.

Cole Sherman, Eagle Scout, worked on a scrap tire project in Osceola County. Courtesy of DNR.


The project leader Cole Sherman, a 13-year-old boy on a mission to clean up around the lake where his family vacations and earn his Eagle Scout rank, the highest achievement in the Scouts BSA organization.

To prepare, Cole wrote a project plan, submitted a proposal to his scout leaders and raised $900 in supplies through a sponsored Hike-a-Thon, walking 58 miles. His fundraising effort earned more than his goal – he was able to donate $245 to the DNR’s Adopt-a-Forest program. The program organizes volunteers to clean up dump sites and trash in forests across the state. 

On Oct. 1, Cole's team of volunteer Scouts, friends and family members moved the tires up a steep embankment to the road, cleaned them, loaded them into a trailer, hauled them out of the woods in several loads and finally put them into the back of a moving truck to take to a recycling facility. 

“Some of the tires had trees growing through them; others were so large and heavy that the team had to strap them to a car and tow them up the hill,” said Cole’s mom, Leah Sherman. “Now this section of the woods is as pristine and beautiful as it should always have been.”

Cole Sherman, Eagle Scout, loads scrap tires onto trailer. Courtesy of DNR.

Cole Sherman, Eagle Scout, loads scrap tires onto trailer. Courtesy of DNR.


After removing the tires, Cole went the extra mile and cleaned up the remaining trash from the dump site. 

“Dump sites threaten wildlife and the environment,” said DNR Adopt-a-Forest program manager Andrea Stay. “This was an ambitious clean-up project and we are grateful to Cole for his efforts.”

Want to get involved? Find a dump site to clean up on the DNR’s tracking map and learn more about forest cleanups at