1c. Pre-Conference Oct 24 Finding Your Shoreline
In 1994, employees and volunteers at the Vancouver Aquarium decided to clean up a beach in Stanley Park to protect the city’s shorelines. From that first cleanup, the program expanded across British Columbia and by 1997, 400 volunteers were participating in the Great BC Beach Cleanup at 20 sites.
The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup became a national conservation initiative in 2002 and cleanups started appearing in every province and territory.
By 2003, more than 20,000 volunteers were taking part. Public support grew as Canadians became more aware of the harmful effects of shoreline litter on ecosystems, wildlife and people.
In 2010, the Vancouver Aquarium began delivering the program with WWF-Canada, a strong partnership that continues today. You can do your part to help too!
A shoreline is defined as anything piece of land that has a connected to water. This could be the beach on the ocean or a lake, the side of a river or stream, or even a storm drain on your block or the field at your school. These shores are essential for the quality of water all over the world, because trash at your shoreline can be transported far away from where it began. Water is connected all over the world. Litter deposited in river, stream or drain can easily make its way to the ocean. That litter is then moved all across the globe through wind and ocean currents. Regardless of where you live, you are near a shoreline and that shoreline connects you to the water all over the world.
Out of sight is not out of mind. Whether it was deliberately dumped, or accidentally dropped, litter can have devastating consequences for wildlife. Animals mistake litter for food or become entangled. Litter can transport invasive species, or introduce dangerous toxins into the ecosystems. Plastic litter never disappears, and instead breaks down into small, tiny pieces called microplastic. Microplastics are impossible to pick up, but have dramatic effects on the quality of water and the organisms that need it to survive – including humans.
In this activity, you will be participating or leading a shoreline cleanup in your area. Then you will create a blog about the experience, answer discussion questions about the experience, and comment on other students’ blogs.
You can join or lead a clean-up here: http://shorelinecleanup.ca/cleanups/getinvolved
Here is what you need to do
- Set a day and a location. Can't get outside? Try cleaning up areas inside of your school, or talking with your school about how they manage littler! Create a proposal for a summer shoreline cleanup. Be creative!
- Invite friends, family and members of the community to get involved. Spread the word through social media, recyclable flyers, and community meetings, or in person!
- Bring with you protective gloves, garbage bags, recycling bags, a proper needle disposal box, and bag or box that is safe to store biological waste. Remember Safety Is KEY
- Ensure there is adult supervision for young children participating
- Have fun! You are directly impacting the health of the water in your life.
CONGRATULATIONS! You are ready to run a shoreline clean up! Time to pick up trash! Keep track of the garbage you collect on the Clean-up Data card included. Take photos of yourself participating in the clean-up. Then, as a school, post ONE BLOG about the experience.
- How did you advertise your shoreline clean up? Was it a community-wide event, or with your friends and family? What were the challenges of communicating and recruiting for the activity?
- How many trash bags did you fill? How many recycling bags did you fill?
- How far of a distance did you clean?
- What was the weight of the trash collected?
- What was the most unique piece of trash that you found? How do you think it might have ended up on your shoreline?
- What was the most abundant piece of trash you found on the shoreline? What could be an alternative product to reduce the amount of this trash found on shorelines everywhere?
- What piece of trash surprised you the most? Why?
What sort of things will you find in your clean-up?
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