Maryanne MacDonald, OWSAG member and Ottawa grandmother
Every year, a small forest next to the school that my granddaughter attends is cleaned up by the students to mark Earth Day. And every year, the children show up to find the forest floor littered with the detritus of a throw-away society: Plastic bottles, candy wrappers, coffee cups, chip bags, lost mittens and gloves, take out food containers and, my least favourite, broken pieces of styrofoam, and plastic bags of dog waste. All this trash makes the forest a less desirable location to visit with small children who like to explore and pick up what they find. In addition, especially on windy days this trash has a really good chance of ending up in our waterways.
With school closing during the week of Earth Day, due to the pandemic, and the regular school break taking place the week before Earth Day, a group of young Earth Helpers decided to take on the clean-up task usually accomplished by their entire class. Their little task force are online learners, preschool, Grade 1 and Grade 4. After working together to assemble two claw picker uppers, four grocery bags, gloves for all, masks for all, and, of course, and adult assistant/supervisor, they headed off.
But wait, before even getting to the forest, the garbage on the street needed to be collected. Once their street was clean, and the “full to the brim” grocery bag deposited in the garage, they ventured to their forest.