From Port Hardy B.C. all the way to St. John’s N.L., Girl Guides of Canada–Guides du Canada participated in a fantastic learning experience, a beautiful day outside and a unique leadership opportunity this past spring, all in the name of cleaner shorelines. This year saw nearly 150 units register to take a stand against shoreline litter as part of the year round Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited. Girl Guide units removed an astonishing 5,270 kilograms of trash, that’s equivalent in weight to 18,821 boxes of delicious classic Girl Guide cookies!

Here’s what Jacqui Comeau of 1st Glen Fall Guides in Saint John N.B. had to say about her shoreline experience:

Vancouver Aquarium Shoreline Cleanup Program

Girl Guides get hands on cleaning up shorelines.

How long have you been involved with Girl Guides?

I’ve been involved for six years and expect I’ll be a lifelong member because I’m hooked! I’ve been a part of Sparks, Brownies and Guides; my goal is to work with every branch level so I can fully experience all that Guiding has to offer.

What made you incorporate a shoreline cleanup into your Guiding year?

I live on the Bay of Fundy and Mispec Beach is a short walk from my house, so I see the impact of litter and trash on my daily beach walks. Incorporating the cleanup into camp for my Guides was a perfect fit! We tented and learned outdoor cooking skills then spent the afternoon on the beach; which was a unique and fun experience. My Guides were so excited to lend a hand and help the environment. We made challenges on which patrol could collect the most trash and gave bragging rights to the oddest item collected. The Guides also earned a service badge for this cleanup along with their outdoor cooking badge and shoreline cleanup crests; quite a haul!

Any interesting stories to share from your shoreline adventure?

There is an informal community piece of art on Mispec Beach where people “display” collected trash in a tree. The Guides thought it was really interesting and liked that some trash was re-purposed into art. My Guides were also astounded at the amount of cigarette butts and have decided to approach our City Council in the 2015/2016 Guiding year to propose cigarette disposal units within the park.

Vancouver Aquarium Shoreline Cleanup

A little rain and fog didn’t stop these dedicated troops.

What did your girls have to say about their day?

When it came to cigarette butts collected, the girls said, “I don’t think I can count that high!” and, “This is disgusting, smoking is bad enough but you have to litter too?”

And where the giant pile of trash collected was concerned they said, “Wow, we collected that in only one hour. Do you think we should come back tomorrow?”

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

Guides and Scouts across Canada can earn a crest for participating in a shorelines cleanup!

Don’t miss your chance to clean a shoreline with Girl Guides of Canada, it will be an experience to remember for years to come. Cleanups can be coordinated year-round and free crests are provided for units who send back their evaluation and results. Enhance your cleanup further with free resources provided by Guides. To register an event visit shorelinecleanup.ca and search the interactive Shoreline Cleanup map.

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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