River clean-up in Devlin to get national exposure

FORT FRANCES—Each year, the Rainy River First Nations Watershed program hosts a shoreline clean-up throughout the district.
But this year, the area might make it on the map, with Devlin’s clean-up on Sept. 27 being listed nationally alongside communities like Ottawa, Hamilton, and Toronto.
“We got contacted by the people who run the event out of Toronto and Vancouver asking to showcase one of the clean-up days in their national scope,” explained watershed co-ordinator Adam Scott.
They chose the La Vallee and Crossroads School clean-up to highlight since it always has been the biggest event in the district. Additional clean-ups in other areas will be held over the course of next week.
“We usually have over 50 people,” Scott enthused. “So that’s going to be the one that we’re really focusing on.”
After organizing the clean-up on its own in years past, last year the watershed program got on board with the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup—a program organized by the Vancouver Aquarium and TD Canada Trust’s Friends of the Environment Foundation.
“From what I understand, they are going to allow for some more media coverage. Whether they send someone here from CTV or something, I’m not sure,” said Scott.
“But they give us a little more money to make sure it’s a big deal.
“I think we’ll be in close contact with them in terms of if any sort of publications go out from their end and if they are talking about it on a nation scale, like on CBC, the community may get mentioned, which is always a good thing,” he added.
“But it doesn’t really make the event any different in terms of how it runs.”
Devlin is listed on the program’s website as a “drop in” clean-up open to the public.
It stresses all shoreline clean-up materials and data cards will be provided on-site, and that participants should wear appropriate footwear for shoreline terrain.
The website also states the shoreline clean-up provides a chance for students and community members to become involved with an activity that has a real, measurable effect in the environment—both locally and globally.
“Clean-ups are more than just collecting trash, they are examples of communities working together to create solutions that ensure our oceans and waterways are kept clean,” it says.
Scott noted the La Vallee clean-up will begin at 9:30 a.m. next Wednesday at the municipal office.
On Tuesday, a clean-up will take place in Barwick with Sturgeon Creek School at 1 p.m. Then on Thursday, Manitou Rapids will hold one in the afternoon after the kids are out of school.
Events for Monday and Friday have yet to be confirmed.
“We go out for a couple of hours, pick a section of shoreline, whether it be the Rainy River or sometimes it’s on a tributary, and pick up what’s on the shoreline,” Scott remarked.
“It helps to make it look a little nicer.”
Then they have a barbecue. And once the paperwork is filled out, they will have certificates to distribute.
Scott noted they likely will clean the same section of shoreline as they have in the past.
“There is no scientific way we are picking sites,” he indicated. “Just ease of access for 30 or 40 kids.
“And we also want to make sure there is stuff there to pick up, as well—we don’t want have them just out on a walk,” he stressed.
The groups will also do surveys and record what they find.
“Basically what they do is there is an online tracking system,” Scott explained. “You fill out surveys about how much you picked up of cigarette butts, glass, etc. and it goes into a nationwide database.”
He noted it should be interesting to see what they discover with the water being so low this year.
Last year, nationwide, 208,855 cigarette or cigarette filters were recorded while 91,404 food wrappers or containers were uncovered.
But unusual findings over the years have included Celine Dion albums, false teeth, a 10-pound bag of onions, a living room set, and a wedding veil, invitations, and groom’s jacket.
Scott said public works people, mayors, and parents of the students have come out in the past.
“We certainly won’t turn away anyone who wants to help us clean up, but our focus is on the kids, the school groups, and the municipalities,” he stressed.
For more information, call Scott at 482-2479.
(Fort Frances Times)