On Saturday, June 24, we joined AquaVan 150 on their cross-Canada travels and hosted an immensely successful Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup on Petrie Island in Ottawa, in celebration of Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation.

In total, 64 volunteers joined us to clean up the island’s shoreline. Volunteers were also treated by the Friends of Petrie Island to a fantastic introduction of the island’s natural ecology, most notably an up close look at some of their resident turtle species. Together, we removed 186 kilograms of litter (roughly the weight of 372 adult female painted turtles). Way to go team! Some of the junk removed included: 271 bottle caps, 39 utensils, six tires, 309 cigarette butts and more than 1,000 tiny plastics. Our 17 bags full of rigid plastics were sent off to TerraCycle Canada’s new Beach Plastic Cleanup Program, to help recycle these hard-to-process items and prevent them from reaching landfill. This year’s most unusual item found was a satellite dish … we’re still wondering what the story behind that one is.

Our Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup team, excited for another successful cleanup.

Our volunteers not only learned how easy it is to make a positive change in the community and local ecology by participating in the cleanup, they also got a chance to check out the Vancouver Aquarium’s AquaVan 150 to learn about ocean conservation.

Volunteers came across this Painted Turtle at the cleanup. Photo credit: Megan Nesseth / WWF Canada

The AquaVan 150 is currently on a cross-country tour, travelling coast to coast to visit 150 cities in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday. The 32-foot, five-ton truck houses some of the ocean’s most interesting marine invertebrates, from sea cucumbers to crabs to sea stars. Our volunteers had the chance to get up close and personal with some of our amazing Pacific coastal creatures, and to learn even more about ocean conservation, through programming led by our engaging team of educators.

The AquaVan 150 on-site bring the Pacific Coast to Ottawa.

A big thank you to our presenting sponsor, Loblaw Companies Limited for providing our volunteers with phenomenal food to keep up their energy level. We also have to thank the Friends of Petrie Island for being kind enough to provide an incredible location full of wildlife, and to Terracycle Canada for ensuring the trash we collected was recycled properly. A big thank you also goes out to members of Cadets Canada and Loblaw who all sent out volunteer teams to participate in the cleanup.

Just a few of our amazing volunteers.

 In 2016, we had over 76,000 participants in 2,320 cleanups across the country, representing our biggest year of cleanups to date. With help from these passionate volunteers, we cleared 126,432 kg off 3,289 km of shoreline. We want to break our record in 2017 and have 150,000 participants in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, and we need your help to do it. With cleanups taking place year round, throughout all seasons, there’s plenty of time for you to lead a cleanup anywhere land meets water. Take action today and register your shoreline cleanup at shorelinecleanup.ca

Petrie Island ready for Canada Day celebrations as we ended our day.

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

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