Report on the 2015 Earth Week Clean Up

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The 24th annual Earth Week Clean Up was a great success with 43 coordinators, 1000+ volunteers, 3900 kilograms of waste removed, 67 sponsors including six schools, and extensive publicity in local media.

Together, we can make a big difference for our local environment!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

REPORT ON THE EARTH WEEK CLEAN UP AT 42 NATURE SITES IN OAKVILLE ON SATURDAY, APRIL 25, 2015

COORDINATORS ARE THE BACKBONE OF THIS ANNUAL COMMUNITY EVENT
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“Forty-two nature sites were tidied up at our 24th annual Earth Week Clean Up of nature sites on Saturday, April 25,” exclaimed Stephen Dankowich, executive director of the Oakville Community Centre for Peace, Ecology and Human Rights.

The event is sponsored by the Town of Oakville Parks and Open Space Department which also provided bags and gloves. It also produced a large map of Oakville that highlighted the clean up locations and was displayed at public libraries, recreation centres and Town Hall in order to encourage participation.

“People did a great job cleaning up dozens of parks, trails, ravines, lakefronts and other green spaces including woodlots as their contribution to Earth Week in their neighbourhood,” he noted.

“We estimate that 1,000 people pitched in on Saturday morning. Individuals, families, students, schools, not for profit groups, real estate agents, environmentalists and businesses participated in this year’s event,” he remarked.

“Volunteers filled more than 600 garbage bags. A lot of the garbage was recyclable materials such as bottles, cans and cardboard. A substantial amount of metal was collected. Other notable waste picked up included tires, pieces of wood, wood stakes, election signs, plastic packaging, traffic cone, potted plants, lawn chairs, foam packaging, sofa cushions, electronics, old shoes,  wooden skids, luggage, concrete blocks, suitcase filled with dirty clothes, baby gate, Christmas decorations, plastic tub, screen door, kids plastic chair, hosing, piping, a camping folding chair, hockey net, bicycle frame and tire, lamp, blue box, bricks, wooden planks, and a plastic table,” he enumerated.

2009-clean-up-09The total weight of all garbage collected was 3,900 kilograms as reported by LK Trucking which picked up the garbage and scrap metal from the forty-two sites on Saturday afternoon right after the event was over. There was three metric tonnes of garbage and 900 kilograms of scrap metal. Halton Region Waste Management sponsors the two trucks.

On Saturday, April 25, 2015 there were 12 clean up locations south of the QEW. North of the QEW, there were 30 locations for clean up. Here is a list of all forty-two locations and the coordinator at that site:

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SOUTH WEST OAKVILLE

  1. Bronte Bluffs Park (Bronte Village Residents Association)
  2. Brook Valley Park (Councillor Pam Damoff)
  3. Great Lakes Boulevard (Dr. Richard Zavitz and Brent McKnight)
  4. Hopedale Park (Sharon and Earl Wiese)
  5. Spring Garden Park and Blakelock HS (Brenda Bryck)
  6. Woodhaven Park and Sedgewick forest (School Trustee Tracey Ehl)

SOUTH CENTRAL OAKVILLE

  1. Busby Park, 16 Mile Creek under Rebecca Street Bridge, Larry Cain Trail (Stephen Cull and Charterability.com)
  2. Hogs Back Park (West River Residents Association)
  3. Wildwood Park meeting at Dorval Crossing East Starbucks (Oakville Provincial Liberal Association)

SOUTH EAST OAKVILLE

  1. Clearview Park (Clean Up is on May 2, 2015); (Clearview Oakville Community Association)
  2. Cornwall Road at the Humane Society (Lynne Dolan)
  3. Dunvegan Park (Paul Dankowich)

NORTH WEST OAKVILLE

  1. Aldercrest Park (Marion Dunford)
  2. Arbourview Park (Jessica Karafilov)
  3. Bronte Creek Provincial Park (Friends of Bronte Creek Park)
  4. Fourth Line and Upper Middle Road (Antonio Fonseca)
  5. Glen Oak Creek Trail at Monastery Drive (neighbourhood volunteers)
  6. Langtry Park (Books with No Bounds)
  7. Nottinghill Park (The Sigurdsson’s)
  8. Watercliffe Court Pond (Bronte Creek Community Residents Association)
  9. Woodgate Woods (The Caffrey’s)
  10. Trails and green spaces around 1901 Pilgrims Way (David and Cynthia Black)
  11. Trails and green spaces around Upper Middle Road, east of Third Line (Amy Young)

NORTH CENTRAL OAKVILLE

  1. 16 Hollow Park on West Oaks Trails (Sharon Brodner)
  2. Indian Ridge Trail at Lindsay Drive and Dorval Crossing West (South Peel Naturalists’ Club)
  3. Nipegon Trail on Sixth Line (Richard Slatter)
  4. Oakville Park (Renee Lehnen and Andy Krantz)
  5. Oxford Park (Michelle and Jeff Sholdice)
  6. River Glen Park: Shannon Creek Trail (Geoff and Mary Hospital)
  7. River Oaks Boulevard west of Trafalgar Road (Doug Maybee)

NORTH EAST OAKVILLE

  1. Algrove Park at White Oaks Boulevard (Councillor Tom Adams)
  2. Bayshire Woods Park (Remax Realtor Paul Butler)
  3. Eighth Line and Falgarwood Drive greenspaces (The Campbell’s)
  4. Forest Glade Park (Colin John)
  5. Glenashton Drive Bridge (Don Meade)
  6. Iroquois Ridge Community Centre (Oakville Jiu-Jiu Seniors Association)
  7. Joshua Valley North at Arrowhead Road (Pace Team with Century 21)
  8. Litchfield Park (Trafalgar Presbyterian Church)
  9. Lancaster Woods (Irina Fomenko)
  10. Postridge Park including the pathway behind Longo’s (Niki and Brad Jandrew)
  11. Ravineview Way & Pondview Place (Leslie Bell)
  12. Sheridan Valley Park (The Edgar’s)

SIXTEEN ORGANIZATIONS WERE INVOLVED AS COORDINATORS OF A CLEAN UP SITE

“One of the great strengths of the event is the involvement of so many different types of organizations that have become coordinators of a Clean Up location. In 2015, sixteen organizations were involved as coordinators,” reported Mr. Dankowich.

Resident associations were actively involved as coordinators. Members of the Bronte Creek Community Residents Association took on the challenge of cleaning up all green spaces along Colonel William Parkway from Upper Middle Road to Dundas Street for a third year. Members and student volunteers distributed copies of the event newspaper with an attached flyer from their association to 2,000 households in northwest Oakville in advance of the event to raise awareness and encourage participation.

The West River Residents Association has been a sponsor for the past eleven years. Their booth was set-up at the top of Queen Mary Drive in Hogs Back Park. Passing through this neighbourhood, you would have seen two very attractively painted wooden signs on display promoting the clean up.

For a second year, the Bronte Village Residents Association coordinated the pitch-in effort of forty volunteers at Bronte Bluffs Park down by the harbour. The Clearview Oakville Community Alliance (COCA) has scheduled its Clean Up at Clearview Park for Saturday, May 2. Sponsorship also was received from the West Harbour Residents Association,” acknowledged Mr. Dankowich.

Environmnental groups also participated including the Friends of Bronte Creek Park which handed out garbage bags to everyone entering the park throughout the day while the South Peel Naturalists Club cleaned up Indian Ridge Trail beginning at Lindsay Drive,” he remarked.

Elected officials coordinated locations including Councillor Tom Adams at Algrove Park in northeast Oakville, Councillor Pam Damoff at Kinoak Arena and Brook Valley Park and School Trustee Tracey Ehl and family at Woodhaven Park and nearby Sedgewick forest. Members of the Oakville Provincial Liberal Association cleaned up Wildwood Park.

The Trafalgar Presbyterian Church has been a coordinator since 2004 and again did a thorough job cleaning up nearby green spaces at Upper Middle Road and Trafalgar Road including Litchfield Park.

Two real estate agents attended to the Clean Up in Joshua Creek. Remax Realtor Paul Butler led a team of enthusiastic volunteers at Bayshire Woods Park by setting up two meeting spots. Raymond Pace and the Pace Team with Century 21 cleaned up green spaces around Arrowhead Road and Meadowridge Drive. Both realtors provided snacks and refreshments for volunteers at their well staffed booths.

The clean up of Busby Park at the downtown harbour was led by Stephen Cull, the founder of Charterability.com, a not for profit group that organizes boat rides on the Sixteen Mile Creek.

The Oakville Jiu-Jiu Seniors Association were excitedly looking forward to their clean up beginning at the Iroquois Ridge Community Centre. Coordinator Thomas Fok reported that seventy-six seniors participated in the clean up. Members noted that everyone has to do their part to protect the environment as they continued demonstrating great leadership in our community.

COORDINATORS ARE THE BACKBONE OF THIS COMMUNITY EVENT

“Twenty-six of the forty-two locations were staffed by volunteers with the Oakville Community Centre for Peace, Ecology and Human Rights. Most of these unheralded individuals and families have volunteered for many, many years and have done a superb job. We are greatly appreciative of their support,” stated Mr. Dankowich.

“At each location, a local organization, Oakville citizen or family has volunteered to be the coordinator of the clean up in their neighbourhood. Coordinators distributed bags and gloves to the volunteers, ensured that the collected garbage was properly placed by the curb for pick up by Halton Region Waste Management later that afternoon, and reported back about the number of volunteers and the types and amount of garbage picked up at their site. Coordinators distributed copies of our event newspaper, displayed posters and reached out to their neighbours to participate,” said the executive director.

“Coordinators are the backbone of this community event and it is easy to become a new coordinator in your neighbourhood so please give us a call or send us an e-mail to be involved in future clean ups,” he stated.

“There remain several neighbourhoods where we are still looking for new coordinators for next year including any new development north of Dundas Street, Coronation Park, Petro Canada Park, Trails around the Glen Abbey Recreation Centres and the River Oaks Recreation Centre, industrial park Winston Woods, and Iroquois Shoreline Woods at Upper Middle Road and Grand Boulevard,” he stated.

THE JOYS OF THE ANNUAL CLEAN UP

“This annual event has been described as the largest community-wide Clean Up in Canada during Earth Week. A total of 75,500 students and citizens have participated since 1992 including this year,” remarked Don Meade, a Board Member.

“The annual Clean Up encourages people to take care of their own neighbourhood and has contributed to building community by bringing people together. In addition, it saves tens of thousands of dollars a year for the local taxpayer,” he stated.

“The Clean Up campaign promotes awareness and respect for biodiversity, local nature, and our trails, parks and waterways. We are beautifying the local natural environment, protecting wildlife and benefiting people’s health while doing our best to encourage environmental activism in our schools and throughout the community,” he noted.

“The Clean Up is a family activity that will be remembered and cherished for years to come. By participating, parents are educating their children about the importance of the natural environment in a very practical way as your efforts will allow everyone to enjoy garbage-free parks and trails this spring and summer. Students received credit for volunteer hours necessary to graduate. Participants are making a big difference for health, biodiversity and the environment in our community,” said Mr. Meade.

“Safety remained the #1 issue at the Clean Up and we are pleased to note that again in 2015 there were no accidents to report,” he said.

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OUTCOMES ARE VERY BENEFICIAL FOR THE COMMUNITY

“We are very pleased that the Clean Up is creating greater local environmental awareness and activism and increased volunteer participation. Garbage is being removed from more nature sites, wildlife is being better protected, tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars are being saved, local biodiversity is being enhanced, our community is a little bit healthier and hopefully fewer and fewer people litter in the future,’ remarked Mr. Dankowich.

WE COULDN’T DO IT WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF SIXTY-SEVEN SPONSORING ORGANIZATIONS

“We are very grateful for the financial sponsoring support of sixty-two local organizations and five participating schools including Dearcroft/Westwind Montessori, Joshua Creek Public School, Loyola Secondary School, St. Luke Elementary School and Our Lady of Peace Elementary School,” noted Mr. Meade.

“As the environment is everyone’s responsibility, we are very pleased that so many organizations sponsored this eco event and that so many people volunteered to make a big difference for our local environment. Thanks to the sponsors, coordinators and volunteers, Oakville is a much cleaner and more pleasant place to live in today,” he concluded.

For more information, please contact the Oakville Community Centre for Peace, Ecology and Human Rights at (905) 849-5501, by e-mail at info@oakvillepeacecentre.org or by writing to P.O. Box 52007, Oakville L6J 7N5. Please visit the website at www.oakvillepeacecentre.org for a list of all 67 sponsors.

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