The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited, could not happen without the dedicated site coordinators who lead and organize each event across Canada. This month we highlight two site coordinators who have returned over the years to organize shoreline cleanups in their community. Do you know someone who deserves to be recognized? Share with us in the comments below!

Rose Mitchell Spohn

Cleanup site: Guild Park and Gardens, Scarborough, O.N.

Why do you take part in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup?

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup Vancouver Aquarium

Rose is helping to make shorelines cleaner and safer for wildlife.

Having seen a bird swoop down into the water and come out with what appeared to be a piece of plastic in its mouth has reinforced for me why we need to keep our entire park clean. Guild Park and Gardens is an 88 acre oasis of gardens, forest, and trails overlooking the waterfront. The lake is a major point of interest to visitors so the shoreline needs to look inviting; however, it is more important that the wide variety of animals that either migrate through or live in and around Guild Park have a safe habitat free from garbage and toxins.

How long have you been involved in the program?

I have been involved in Shoreline Cleanups as a site coordinator since fall 2013.

How much garbage have you collected?

Total amount of litter removed in four cleanups was 177 kilograms.

What’s the strangest item you’ve found?

Our team found 472 plastic flower petals during the fall 2014 Shoreline Cleanup. Some of the secondary students in the group wondered if this area near the water’s edge was the site of a prom-posal. During the spring 2015 Shoreline Cleanup, we found an additional 62 artificial flower petals at the same location.

 

Paul Finkleman

Cleanup site: The Weaselhead Natural Area, Calgary, A.B.

Why do you take part in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup?

I’ve been helping pick up litter since 1970, when I organized Alberta’s first Earth Day activity as a high school student here in Calgary. There were 200 of us from high schools across Calgary, and we marched through downtown Calgary picking up litter and informing people about purchasing non-deposit bottles. Aluminum pop cans were just beginning to replace glass bottles back then, and people were throwing the cans away (similar to what you see with takeout coffee cups nowadays), as the cans had not yet become refundable. The city provided us with a police motorcycle escort, and a garbage truck that tailed our parade and took all the trash we picked up along the route. That was my first taste organizing environmental events and it since became a life-long passion which I volunteer time towards.

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup Site Coordinators

Paul Finkleman (in white shirt and dark vest up front) and fellow high school students marching through downtown Calgary for the first Earth Day (1970).

How long have you been involved in the program?

I have been picking up litter for close to 45 years, and with all the clean-ups I have organized, I can easily and honestly say I have been responsible for picking up well over a million pieces of trash.

What’s the strangest item you’ve found?

We once found an old army jeep completely submerged in the Elbow River and with the help of the city, pulled it out of the water.

Learn more about Paul Finkleman in his 2011 Site Coordinator Award Winner profile.

Like these two site coordinators, you can make a difference in your home community by organizing a shoreline cleanup. Add a shoreline cleanup to your next camping trip, summer hike, staff picnic or visit to the lake, and help keep your favourite summertime spot litter free. To register an event visit shorelinecleanup.ca, or search the Shoreline Cleanup map to join an event taking place near you.

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is a joint conservation initiative of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre and WWF-Canada, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited and supported by Ricoh Canada. You can take a stand against shoreline litter in your community by signing up for a cleanup in your neighbourhood today.

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