You might not see them during your visit, but the staff who work behind-the-scenes at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre are just as committed to ocean conservation as the front line staff you do meet.

In April, the Aquarium’s Green Team challenged the staff to convert that enthusiasm into action. The task? Coordinate shoreline cleanups around Stanley Park during the month of April.

We had our first hint that the challenge had been accepted when Cam from our Building & Construction team requested our help to weigh the material they had collected on their team cleanup. Expecting perhaps one bag of garbage — we went outside and were amazed to see the rest of Cam’s team unloading the cube van with bag after bag of shoreline litter. The cleanup had been led by carpenter John Pauly and included construction materials, rope and chain.

It only takes an hour to make a difference.

It only takes an hour to make a difference.

“Ever since working with the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup team and artist Pete Clarkson on the Float ‘Em Pole, Marine Debris Christmas Tree, ByeCatch and the recent GLOBE 2016 display, I have wanted to be part of the Shoreline Cleanup,” says John. “This team, including Tanya Otero, is so committed and enthusiastic that I wanted to participate in one of their monthly cleanups earlier this year, along with other staff from the Aquarium.”

Inspired by their first cleanup experience, John and Cam together with their coworkers Corey, Ian and Branko took up the Green Team challenge and spent just one lunch break cleaning up a shoreline near the Aquarium. The results were incredible — Sixty plastic bottles, 15 cigarette lighters, 16 fishing buoys and 125 metres of rope — a total of more than 200 kilograms of litter.

“We prioritized picking up items that could entangle animals. I really felt we were making a difference,” says John.

A 7 minute clean-up blitz that yielded 2 kg of trash. Photo credit: Rose Mitchell Spohn

A 7 minute clean-up blitz that yielded 2 kg of trash. Photo credit: Rose Mitchell Spohn

In total, more than 50 employees took part in the Green Team challenge removing around 360 kilograms of litter from shorelines around the Vancouver Aquarium.

Do you have an hour to spare? Follow John’s lead, gather a few friends and take real action for our oceans by coordinating your very own lunchtime cleanup.

By Kate Le Souef, manager, Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. The Shoreline Cleanup is a joint conservation initiative of the Vancouver Aquarium and WWF-Canada, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited and supported by Ricoh Canada.


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