Kaitlyn M. Janssen, a junior at Gilbert High School, is just adding the finishing touches to a project that will qualify for a Girl Scout Gold Award.

Janssen has installed monofilament receptacles to place unwanted fishing line along the lakes in Gilbert. She plans to do outreach to educate the community about their importance.

The teen said that she choose the project because of her interest in the preservation and protection of wildlife.

“I get so upset when people unintentionally destroy and or hurt animals, habitats and the environment.  I have always enjoyed going to the Riparian Park in Gilbert, so when I found out this problem was so close to home I had a desire to help resolve the issue,” she said.

Janssen said that she noticed the lack of disposable methods at the parks, hence the fishing line and trash laying on the ground.

“The fishing line typically gets caught in the plants, stuck on an animal and sometimes ingested,” she said. “I also have memories of fishing with my father and I know others enjoy fishing as well, so this problem needs to be addressed for future fishermen-women so they can enjoy the habitat like others had before.”

Janssen raised $2,500 for the project with help from Arizona Pipe Trades Apprenticeship, which purchased and donated all PVC necessary to construct 30 monofilament receptacles. The organization also allowed her volunteers to construct the receptacles at its local apprenticeship facility in Phoenix.

The receptacles are being mounted at the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch, McQueen Park Activity Center, Discovery Park and Freestone Park.

Carelessly disposed of monofilament fishing line may cause harm to the environment. Janssen shares the following reasons why it should be recycled:

–Researchers estimate a monofilament fishing line takes 600 years to biodegrade.

–Until then, species of birds, turtles and aquatic wildlife will get entangled, which will cause them to drown, starve or lose a limb within a stranglehold.

–The animals can also eat the fishing line and become sick and die of starvation. This is because the fishing line makes their stomachs feel full.

–They can damage boats if the line gets tangled in the motor.

–Since fishing line doesn’t break down in a landfill, it isn’t a good idea to just throw it away. Animals can still pick up line in the landfills; therefore the line must be recycled.