Fall is here, and before our shorelines and waterways are covered by leaves and snow let’s get out and do a Shoreline Cleanup! This month we feature two amazing site coordinators in Alberta who are making a difference on their local shorelines.

Kate is a dedicated conservationist and held her first Shoreline Cleanup with her grade five students this fall.

Kate is a dedicated conservationist and held her first Shoreline Cleanup with her Grade 5 students this fall.

Kate Blackburn
Cleanup Site: Confederation Park Pond and Creek, A.B.

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

I am a dedicated conservationist, and as a teacher I want to inspire and motivate my students to become lifelong environmental stewards. The best way to do this is to lead by example, so this fall I donned my rubber boots and gloves for our two school based wetland cleanups. The two areas are now spotless and our entire team of students, parents and teachers are proud to have helped our environment.

How long have you been involved in the program?

I am very new to the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup but when I saw a poster at a local restaurant, I knew this was a project for me. I have participated in other creek and river cleanups here in Calgary for well over a decade.

Where do you clean up?

I have helped with the Bow and Elbow River, and Nose Creek cleanups over the past dozen years. Nose Creek was with the Yellow Fish Road project and two Grade 5 classes joining in with several different schools. The Bow/Elbow cleanups are annual cleanup events here in Calgary where hordes of citizens come out to clean our waterways.

What’s the strangest item you’ve found?

The strangest item I have ever found has to be a toilet seat. How it ended up in a creek is beyond me. I have found soothers and a Barbie doll but the toilet seat takes the cake.

Jaynne Carre, an avid birder, holding baby Saw Whet Owls just banded.

Jaynne Carre, an avid birder, holding baby Saw Whet Owls just banded.

Jaynne Carre
Cleanup site: Louise McKinney Park, A.B.

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

The City of Edmonton hosted a world conference on garbage that I attended. After seeing photos of the Pacific Ocean garbage gyre and how vast and damaging it is to birds, other wildlife and the ocean itself, I was inspired to do something about preventing garbage from getting there in the first place.

How long have you been involved in the program?

I participated in my first Shoreline Cleanup in 2011, jumping in as site coordinator for the north shore of the North Saskatchewan River at Louise McKinney Park in downtown Edmonton. I have coordinated this site for five years as captain of team WildbirdTM, we are a small group of concerned citizens that dress up in bird costumes to do good deeds for birds, natural history education and the environment.

In September 2014 I encouraged my son, Marcel Zobel (2014 Site Coordinator Achievement Award recipient) to become the coordinator for Cox Bay in Tofino, B.C. My new goal for my involvement with the Shoreline Cleanup is to increase participation by finding a new site coordinator every year to champion a shoreline in their community.

What’s the strangest item you’ve found?

With the drought and low water levels of 2015, an old roll of mattress bed springs was hauled out of the North Saskatchewan River.

Team members Raquel and Kathy help haul a mattress bedspring from the North Saskatchewan River.

Team members Raquel and Kathy help haul a mattress bedspring from the North Saskatchewan River.

Over 1,800 cleanups have taken place as part of The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited. It’s not too late to take part, to register an event visit shorelinecleanup.ca, or search the Shoreline Cleanup map to join an event taking place near you.

Know an amazing site coordinator who deserves to be recognized? Nominate them for the Site Coordinator Achievement Award. Winners are profiled on the website, and receive a gift package and certificate. Self-nominations are also accepted so don’t be shy! Nominations are open until December 1, 2015.

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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