The Helen Schuler Nature Centre expresses thanks to the 65 community organizations that participated in this year's Coulee Clean-Up! The efforts of 1,271 volunteers made a significant difference in Lethbridge's river valley by helping to remove 530 bags of trash.
This year marks the 10th year of the Coulee Clean-Up campaign organized by the Helen Schuler Nature Centre. Coulee Clean-Up is made possible thanks to the generous support and involvement from the community! Pratt & Whitney Canada helped launch the program in 2008 and have provided support every year – helping cover costs associated with bags, gloves, volunteer appreciation, and coordination.
"The team at Pratt & Whitney Canada go above and beyond every year! Their cash sponsorship is an essential part of maintaining the program by funding supplies like gloves and providing support in building a community of conservation-minded volunteers through our annual appreciation BBQ," Coreen Putman, Manager at Helen Schuler Nature Centre.
"Supporting the Coulee Clean-Up has been a source of pride for the company and employees, the coulees are a beautiful and important part of our environment that must be preserved for everyone," Chris Harvey, EH&S Coordinator with Pratt and Whitney Canada.
Coulee Clean-Up has become an important annual tradition for Lethbridge. Volunteers participate to help remove accumulated garbage blown-in by the wind or carelessly left behind by litterbugs. Strange items collected this year include: 4 DVD players on the beach at Alexander Wilderness Park, a vacuum cleaner in Pavan Park, a Stetson cowboy hat at the entrance to Popson Park, $20 cash on campus at the University of Lethbridge, and a large machete found near the natural playground in Indian Battle Park.
Coulee Clean-Up helps to keep Lethbridge looking beautiful while also making it safer for everyone who enjoys the river valley. In the past 10 years over 3,650 bags of trash has been removed thanks to the efforts of volunteer participants. The effects of the program are evident with more people taking part, more areas of the river valley being covered, and less accumulated garbage being found year-over-year.
"The support from the community for Coulee Clean-Up has been great! We still have groups organizing their own clean-ups through the summer months," says Curtis Goodman, Resource Development Coordinator at the Nature Centre, "The Nature Centre will always provide support and supplies to individuals or groups who want to do their own Coulee Clean-Up."
Everyone is encouraged to be mindful of their trash to ensure it does not end up in natural areas. Garbage affects the aesthetic value of the river valley, and, perhaps most importantly, garbage is hazardous to wildlife and their habitat. Tips for residents to help reduce litter in our city include:
- Ensure there is a lid on your garbage bin;
- Ensure all garbage is bagged and tied tightly;
- Investigate sources of garbage on your street and talk with neighbours about how to reduce litter in your neighbourhood;
- Reduce the amount of waste you generate with a reusable beverage container; and
- Have a conversation with the litterbugs in your life about how garbage affects our community.
"We hope that one day there will be no need for Coulee Clean-Up – where everyone helps to keep garbage in its place," Curtis Goodman.
This year's Helen Schuler Nature Centre conservation projects, including Coulee Clean-Up, Shoreline Clean-Up, and Invasive Weed Pulls are made possible thanks to the support of TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, Alberta Conservation Association, Country 95.5FM, B93.3FM, and Pratt and Whitney Canada.
If anyone is interested in taking part in conservation projects hosted by the Helen Schuler Nature Centre, visit the Nature Centre OR go to www.Lethbridge.ca/HSNC and explore upcoming "Volunteer" opportunities. The next Invasive Weed Pull will take place on Thursday July 20 at Elizabeth Hall Wetlands and the next Shoreline Clean-Up will take place on Saturday July 22 from 1-3pm also at the Elizabeth Hall Wetlands.
If you would like more information about the Helen Schuler Nature Centre, please contact Curtis Goodman at 403-320-3064 or email Curtis.Goodman@Lethbridge.ca