Rotary Great lakes Watershed Cleanup
Rotary Club of Arnprior Cleans up Algonquin Trail and “Unplugged” Kids Clean up Galilee Beach
On Sept 25, 2021 a dozen Club members, family and friends of Rotary gathered to clean up sites that could pollute local waterways.  Also participating in the cleanup as part of an educational outing were 10 children and guardians of the Unplugged Program of St John Lutheran Church.
Some of the cleanup crew on the Algonquin Trail in Braeside. Rod Smith, Gerhard Peters, Jane Peters, Bill Sellers, Vila Smith, Terry Dawson, Bruce Buie, Dave Palmer and Pushpa (bottom row)
An initiative of the Club’s newly minted Environment Committee, approximately 275kg of trash was carted away with considerable effort from the Algonquin Trail (former CP rail line) adjacent to the Arnprior Landfill near Braeside.  Afterward, the group gathered for a much deserved lunch at Betty’s Chips in Braeside overlooking the extraordinarily beautiful – and cleaner - Ottawa River.
Unplugged children cleaning up the Beach along the Ottawa River at the Galilee Centre in Arnprior
According to Andy Kalnins who helped Enid Blackwell and Stan Johnstone organize the Galilee Beach cleanup along the Ottawa River, the kids:  
a) did leave the beach at Galilee cleaner when they left, compared to when they arrived,
b) all got an education with respect to river ecology,
c) they fed some chickadees,
d) had a lot of fun,
e) had homemade cookies, and
f) got to listen to two speeches by Rotary Club President Vila Smith! 
Many thanks to Anthony Hobbs of the County of Renfrew, Geoff Patterson of the Township of McNab/Braeside and Meghan Postin of the Galilee Centre for helping to make this happen.
The local Rotary Great Lakes Watershed Cleanup was originally planned for the spring on Earth Day but was postponed because of COVID-19.  The initiative is an international effort that has grown from a service project covering a small portion of Lake Ontario and Erie to a multi-district plan to focus Rotarians’ attention to all 5 of the Great Lakes and streams and waterways feeding them.  Rotary’s goal is to make this the single largest cleanup event ever planned and coinciding with Earth Day 2021 on the Great Lakes Watershed.  The Great Lakes contains almost 20% of the world’s fresh water and is arguably the largest source of fresh water on the planet.  It borders 8 states and 2 provinces and has 15,323 kilometers of shoreline.  So far 15 Districts, 100’s of Clubs, and thousands of Rotary volunteers have agreed to participate.  
Trash, plastics, and other littered items plague our waterways.  This trash poses a threat to terrestrial and aquatic life, often becomes microplastics and harmful toxins, and pollutes one of the most precious and limited natural resources.  Shopping carts, tires, furniture, trash, foam cups, plastic containers, and aluminum cans contaminate our waterways and greenways.  More than 22 million pounds (10 million kilograms) of trash and plastic pollution ends up in the Great Lakes each year.
Cleanups from numerous NGO’s, community groups, and individual volunteers are critical to reducing the amount of garbage that collects in our watersheds each year.  In order to track our success, the second goal will be to tabulate the amount of debris collected from each of the individual cleanup events.  And the final and most important goal will be to educate the public to the importance of protecting our waterways and to instill a sense of stewardship towards our Great Lakes.
This collaborative work project has generated much excitement and enthusiasm among the participants and is reflective of the addition of the Environment as a new area of focus of Rotary International.  It also reflects our desire to be People of Action and to promote the good work of Rotary.
  1. Improve the aesthetics of the Great Lakes by removing garbage from public areas and roadsides.
  2. Reduce the amount of plastic and litter on our lands and in our waterways.
  3. Remove waste that could potentially be ingested by pets and other wildlife.
  4. Provide an opportunity for public participation in collaborative activities.
  5. Educate the public about the effects of littering, the importance of recycling, and to instill a sense of stewardship.
  6. Collect and report back to organizers cleanup metrics to track the impacts of all the cleanups.
The Rotary Club of Arnprior is planning another cleanup for Earth Day 2022 and if you or your group are interested in participating, please contact Rod Smith, Chair, Environment Committee, 613-889-2705.
Fun was had by all….