GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Expect to see plenty of spring breakers across the Mississippi Coast this week, but not all of them are hanging out at the beach or around bars. One group of college students is working long, hard hours to help beautify South Mississippi.
They played tug-of-war with a bunch of stubborn branches and bushes, and they found plenty of beer bottles, empty ones, all over the ground.
"Cans, tons of diapers too, just really nasty things," one student commented.
Twelve students from Ohio State University spent Monday picking up trash and clearing overgrown trails at the Clower-Thorton Nature Area, just west of Courthouse Road in Gulfport.
"It's very sad to walk down and see all this trash and it's sad to think that people throw all this stuff away and it can be beautiful," said Ohio State University Sophomore Samantha Beckley.
The students are among 50-members of the school's "Buck-I-Serve" organization who signed-up to volunteer in South Mississippi during their spring break.
"I'd rather be here, 100-percent here, because it's beautiful. It's nature. That's what we decided to do instead of going to the beach," said Ohio State University Junior Tyler Kisling.
"I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. It's really so rewarding. It definitely makes up for any fun times you might be having," said Ohio State University Sophomore Phoebe Carmichael.
The environmental restoration project required some much-needed muscle power from the young volunteers.
"It filled my heart actually. Here we are going on our 11th year of post-Katrina and people still come. It's just unbelievable. They're wanting to help us and you just can't buy it. It's a gift," said Nancy Madden with the Mississippi Coast Audubon Society.
It is a gift that will help restore the beauty of the park.
"This was a little jewel here, until Hurricane Katrina," said Madden.
"I just want to make this more of a family place. So when we leave here, I'm going to feel great knowing we did that," said Samantha.
The students will also take turns this week helping out at a soup kitchen, rebuilding a playground, and volunteering at the Humane Society of South Mississippi.