SMS students clean up shorelines

By Deb Secco, Grade 3 Teacher

On September 25, Grades 2-6 participated in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. This year it is estimated that over 45,000 people took part in this effort from all across Canada. 

Hosted by the Vancouver Aquarium and the World Wildlife Federation, the goal of the program is to raise environmental awareness and to remove litter from waterways to create a healthy lifestyle for ocean and fresh water creatures.

Each class was split into groups. The groups collected, tallied, sorted and classified debris around the St. Margaret’s community. Altogether over 1900 items were collected. The top five “finds” included: 933 cigarettes and associated smoking products, 298 food wrappers, 192 plastic products, 157 bottles and cans and 141 paper products.  The most unusual items found included clothing, toys, coins, a pillow, part of a license plate, a picture frame and a tensor bandage.

Along the way, students were encouraged to take part in a scavenger hunt. Many of the younger children noticed that the water level in the duck pond was quite low and expressed concern for the well-being of the ducks that live there. They also spotted many interesting signs and were surprised at how many people from the community were out enjoying the sunny weather.  They found evidence of seeds in the environment and listened for sounds. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = very quiet, 10 = very noisy), they rated the noise level in our environment to be between 2 and 3.

Beckwith Park was much cleaner than the Grade 3 class had expected. They thought this might be because people understand the consequences of littering and are being more respectful to the environment. They also noted several garbage cans along the paths and that many people were using them instead of littering. Unfortunately, they found many cigarette butts and they were concerned about the health of people who smoke.

All in all, it was a great morning and we enjoyed the opportunity to clean up the St.Margaret’s neighborhood. Special thanks to Mrs. Hedderick for organizing the Shoreline Cleanup and all of the parent volunteers who joined us for the adventure!

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