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Organizing a Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup for the first time might seem like a daunting task. New Site Coordinators tend to approach the idea of organizing a cleanup hesitantly, but with the help of our Resources Page, and after seeing the results that a few helping hands can make on their waterways, many return year after year.

Are you interested in becoming a first time Site Coordinator? Here is the perspective of new Site Coordinator Ellen Querengesser, a volunteer who is passionate about getting involved in her community and helping the environment.

Ellen Querengesser — Kitsilano Beach Park, B.C.

I just completed my first Shoreline Cleanup as a Site Coordinator. I had decided to sign up for the Shoreline Cleanup because my biggest pet peeve is garbage, especially plastic litter. I not only wanted to reduce the possibility of trash entering our oceans and the mouths of unfortunate sea birds and fish, I wanted to encourage folks to reduce the garbage they produce.

Ellen’s team excited and ready to clean the shorelines with their litter data cards ready.

Ellen’s team excited and ready to clean the shorelines with their litter data cards ready.

With the help of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup’s 2015 shoreline litter data and Change Starts with Action poster, I was able to create a billboard to display to the volunteers and passersby how litter harms our ocean life, and what actions they can take to make a difference. People were concerned when they found out how much and what kind of litter had been collected across Canada, and how it affected the wildlife.

Ellen created an engaging poster to share the effects of shoreline litter and everyday actions we can take to help.

Ellen created an engaging poster to share the effects of shoreline litter and everyday actions we can take to help.

Those passing by were very thankful for our cleanup efforts and some inquired how they could sign up for one. I do hope I influenced the volunteers and passersby to take actions to reduce their garbage.

I was amazed at how much trash we collected in so little time. We collected over 80 pounds of litter, including 877 cigarette butts. The biggest item collected was a large plastic holding tank. We also found toys, clothing, fishing gear, and of course your typical plastic packaging material — bottles, lids and straws, just to name a few.  Recording every item we collected was not as tedious as I thought it would be. This data is so important for creating solutions for trash free shorelines.

It was so much fun I will definitely do it again.

A volunteer on the cleanup shows one of the plastic toys found on the shoreline.

A volunteer on the cleanup shows one of the plastic toys found on the shoreline.

Want to organize your own shoreline cleanup? Cleanups can be public or private events, with team sizes ranging from two, to ten to 100 and more. Check to see if your local shoreline is listed on the Shoreline Cleanup map and register today at shorelinecleanup.ca.

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.

5 Responses

  1. Shelagh

    Excellent work Ellen. It certainly is about awareness and education for all. If we don’t pick it up, it ends up in the food chain and the seafood we eat.
    Looking forward to our next visit to Kitsilano. Thanks to you and your team.

    Reply
  2. Tonie

    Well done Ellen and team. It is all about awareness and education for the young.

    Reply

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