There’s a certain thrill that comes along with a Shoreline Cleanup. Picking up a plastic straw or food wrapper can be so rewarding that it spurs you into action to see how much more you can collect off a shoreline. Now, imagine adding a search for a hidden prize to your litter hunt — now that’s an exciting adventure.
Whether it’s trash or treasure, Site Coordinator Linda Kehoe wants her team to find it. Linda has found a creative way to combine her cleanups through the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup with her love of geocaching. Geocaching is a growing phenomenon around the world that allows participants to use GPS coordinates to find secret objects stashed away by other geocachers.
Linda gives us the scoop on how she got started:
I attended my first geocaching Shoreline Cleanup in 2011 while on a trip to Vancouver. My husband and I discovered the event because we always look for geocaches or geocaching events to do when we travel. We were lucky to have a friend with us who had just graduated as a marine biologist and was familiar with Shoreline Cleanups. She quickly had a gathering of people listening to her speak on the importance of Shoreline Cleanups and the removal of litter items from beaches which can put wildlife and sea life in harm’s way. I was inspired and returned home to Kamloops to inquire about any cleanups in our town.
The following year I hosted a Shoreline Cleanup with my colleagues at the Real Canadian Superstore — it was our store’s first cleanup event. Attendance was lower than I had hoped but we enjoyed the cleanup, and will always remember the rusty swing set we pulled out of the river.
Energized, I organized a Kamloops Geocachers cleanup a few days later that was well attended. It is fairly easy to organize a geocaching cleanup event; a geocacher goes onto the main Geocaching website, sets up an event page with the coordinates of the meet up location, and details about the event, once approved by the website organizers the event is a go.
For geocaching cleanups there need not be any hidden geocaches in the area, or there may be some not related to the event, in which case geocachers leave them be or log them if they have never been there. Everyone loves cleanups, often working alongside a newfound friend with a like-minded hobby.
In 2012 we combined the two cleanups into one event and since then the Real Canadian Superstore employees and the Kamloops Geocachers have worked together to clean up a large area of Kamloops’ river’s edge. Each year our group of participants has grown. We’ve been alarmed by the number of moldy blankets found, disgusted by the amount of cigarette butts picked up and surprised by the assistance and thank-yous from the local homeless who have assisted our cleanup. The most interesting item found thus far has been a damaged commercial-sized Burr Coffee Grinder.
We look forward to many more cleanups.
The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited and supported by Ricoh Canada, YVR and OLG., is a joint conservation initiative of the Vancouver Aquarium and WWF-Canada. Find out more at www.shorelinecleanup.ca