Shoreline Cleanup: Community Event


For this community challenge, you will host a public Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup with your community!

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, a conservation partnership by Ocean Wise and WWF-Canada, is Canada’s largest volunteer-powered, conservation cleanup program. The Shoreline Cleanup aims to promote understanding of shoreline litter issues by engaging Canadians to rehabilitate shoreline areas through cleanups.

A shoreline is any piece of land 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. Waterways are all connected in one big ocean around the globe. (This is actually Ocean Literacy Principal #1!). Litter deposited in a river, stream or drain can easily make its way to the ocean 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.

Fun fact: In 1994, employees and volunteers at the Vancouver Aquarium decided to clean up a beach in Stanley Park to protect the city’s shorelines. Since that first cleanup, a program grew in BC with 400 volunteers. Then, the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup became a national conservation initiative in 2002 with cleanups in every province and territory. By 2003, more than 20,000 volunteers were taking part. Now, you can get involved too!


Here is what you need to do:


  1. Familiarize yourself with Shoreline Cleanup. Look around on their website and explore all of the resources they have available.
  2. Set a day, time and a location. You can do a clean up anywhere land meets water (ocean, river, lake, puddle, storm drain). Do a site visit to ensure your location is safe and suitable.
  3. Register your clean up on the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup website.
  4. Inform your municipality of your clean-up (they can be a great resource for supplies). Arrange with them how to dispose of the collected litter and recycling.
  5. Gather your supplies: Bring protective gloves, garbage bags, recycling bags, and bag or box that is safe to store biological waste. Bring something to weigh the collected litter. If possible, bring a first aid kit.
  6. Print off Shoreline Cleanup Data Cards and Shoreline Cleanup Waiver forms for participants who didn't sign up online
  7. Invite friends, family and members of the community to get involved. Spread the word through social media, and community meetings, or in person!
  8. Use the Communications Plan Template to develop a communications strategy. Contact the Ocean Bridge Communication Coordinator to connect you with local media outlets.


  1. Welcome your participants to the event. Do a safety briefing including site safety, dangerous item disposal (needles etc.), location of first aid and when to gather back together. 
  2. Divide your participants in small teams, hand out supplies and ensure each team has a Shoreline Cleanup Data Card and all participants have signed the Shoreline Cleanup Waiver.
  3. Clean up! 
  4. Be active on social media.
    Hashtags: #shorelinecleanup #OceanBridge #LeadersToday
    Tag the following on Twitter: @cleanshorelines @OceanWise @SocDevSoc
    Tag the following on Instragram & Facebook: @shorelinecleanup @OceanWise @LeadersToday
  5. Wrap up: Weigh all of the trash. Separate recyclable and compostable items. Collect Shoreline Cleanup Data Cards and thank your participants.
  6. Have fun! You are directly impacting the health of the water in your life.


  1. Submit your Shoreline Cleanup Data Cards to [email protected]
  2. Share your experience! Tag your service on our Ocean Service Activities map. Take photos and share them on our community space gallery, write a blog or post what you found to the discussion board.

If helpful, use the  Site Coordinator Checklist to help plan your event.

If you have questions contact [email protected] or call 1-877-427-2422

Ready to take it to the next level?

Consider plogging! You can also  kayak, canoe or rock climb to your next clean up! 

Host a shoreline clean up in conjunction with a film screening or other community event

Want to do something a little simpler?

Plan a shoreline clean up with your family and friends

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