by Brent Eades
Events of the past year have made it clear that our town cares deeply about the protection of its river. On Saturday, September 21, you’ll have the chance to show the river some love by joining the second local edition of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.
Organized by the Mississippi RiverWatchers, this year’s event starts with registration at the Almonte fairgrounds at 8:30 a.m. At 9 we’ll be out on foot or in canoes, boats and kayaks, looking for trash and debris on the shoreline from Almonte up to Appleton.
Last year’s Cleanup drew 40 volunteers, who retrieved more than half a ton of trash from the river. This year the RiverWatchers want to draw many more people.
Highlights of this year’s Cleanup include a scavenger hunt for kids — looking for local natural phenomena — plus prizes for the weirdest trash pulled from the river. Then at noon everyone will assemble at the fairgrounds for a tailgate/potluck lunch. Some food will be donated by local merchants, and all participants are asked to contribute something to be shared.
The Shoreline Cleanup sounds like a great day out on and around the river. Hope to see you all there.
N.B: As per Mike O’Malley’s comment below, please note that shuttle buses will run from the fairgrounds to Appleton, for the benefit of folks who’d like to clean up at that end of the river.
About the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup
The Cleanup is a nation-wide event that began as a local project in Vancouver in 1994. Here’s a brief history from its website:
In 1994, a small team of employees and volunteers at the Vancouver Aquarium decided to clean up a local beach in Stanley Park to help protect the city’s shorelines. They submitted the data collected during this event to the International Coastal Cleanup, a global program managed by the Ocean Conservancy. By 1997, 400 volunteers were participating in 20 sites across British Columbia as part of the Great BC Beach Cleanup.
In 2002, the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup emerged as a national program, providing all Canadians the opportunity to make a difference in their local communities. Cleanups started appearing in every province and territory, and by 2003, more than 20,000 volunteers were taking part.
Over the following years, the program continued to expand its reach and influence, aided by the support of sponsors, donors, and partners (such as WWF Canada, who became a full partner of the Shoreline Cleanup in 2010). Public support and interest in the program also grew as Canadians gradually became more aware of the harmful effects of shoreline litter on both fragile aquatic ecosystems and people.
In 2012, the Shoreline Cleanup celebrated its 19th anniversary with more than 57,000 volunteers, and expanded the spring cleanup to include school groups in Ontario and British Columbia. Today, it is recognized as one of the largest direct action conservation programs, as well as the most significant contributor to the International Coastal Cleanup in Canada.