History of the Earth Week Clean Up

The 25th annual Earth Week Clean Up of Nature Sites in Oakville
on Saturday, April 23, 2016 from 9 to 11 am is organized by the:

Oakville Community Centre for
Peace, Ecology and Human Rights (OCCPEHR)
P.O. Box 52007, Oakville, ON L6J 7N5
(905) 849-5501, info@oakvillepeacecentre.org

2016 Earth Week Clean Up Poster

Wow! We have now been organizing a clean up of nature sites in Oakville for 25 consecutive years.

It began with one location in 1992 at Bronte Creek under the QEW. Today it is the largest annual clean up during Earth Week in Canada. This year on Saturday, April 23, we will be cleaning up at more than forty locations throughout Oakville!

The campaign has been a real grassroots accomplishment. Citizens concerned about littering and the protection of our local natural environment became coordinators of the Clean Up in their neighbourhood.

Since 1992, there have been a total of 127 location coordinators.

Some locations lasted for just one year while others have been ongoing since the start. Many locations have had changes of coordinators with one person finding someone else to replace them and keep the clean up going in that neighbourhood. Several suspended their annual clean up after the coordinator reported that their green space no longer required their annual maintenance of it. As well, many past coordinators moved away to another community.

Up to and including the 2015 Clean Up, we have organized a total of 611 neighbourhood clean ups. We began with one location in 1992, five in 1993, six in 1994 and 1995, twelve in 1996, a big jump up to twenty-seven locations in 2002, thirty-eight sites in 2004 and a record forty-six locations cleaned up in 2013. There were 40 sites in 2014 and 42 in 2015.

The campaign has involved more than 75,500 students and citizens.

In 1992, we were 30 volunteers cleaning up along the shoreline of Bronte Creek under the QEW bridge.

Coordinators have primarily included individuals, families or groups of families working together. Over the years, other not for profit organizations have also taken a large role in participating in this community-wide effort. In 2015, sixteen local groups were involved as coordinators.

All past and present coordinators have truly made a big difference in our community. They took the bold step of becoming an organizer for the environment. As a volunteer coordinator, they became a source of inspiration for others who shared their concerns and joined in on clean up day.

Coordinators have regularly reported that their neighbourhood has become a lot cleaner and a lot more liveable thanks to the annual clean up. Many have said that they have less and less to clean up each year with the larger pieces of garbage long ago removed.

Last spring, we were very pleased that 42 nature sites were cleaned up. 3,900 kilograms of garbage and scrap metal were trucked away after being picked up by 1,000+ enthusiastic volunteers.

Clearly, this campaign needs to continue and to grow.

Oakville’s Parks and Open Space Department is the main sponsor of this event and Halton Region’s Public Works Department sponsors two garbage trucks.

Our many longstanding community sponsors (see list) have sustained this campaign these past twenty-five years. It has been a real joy reaching out to them each year as they are our most enthusiastic supporters in the community.

We hope you will be able to participate in the Clean Up this spring. We encourage you to join a location or to coordinate a new location where you live or work in 2016. We’d love to have many more people like you involved in the campaign!

Thank you very much for being concerned about the natural environment. We wish you all the very best!

Stephen Dankowich, executive director,
Oakville Community Centre for Peace, Ecology and Human Rights (OCCPEHR)

PS Our organization is looking for local people who want to join our Board of Directors. New volunteers are always welcome. Event planners are now needed!


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