With the mountains, wildlife and nature intertwined as part of the region’s ecosystem, protecting the environment has always taken centre-stage.
With that in mind, The Rotary Club of Canmore is inviting the valley community to work together in helping clean up parts of the region for World Environment Day on Saturday, June 5.
“We’re asking to draw upon everyone who loves this valley and loves your backyard, your favourite trail, your favourite recreation area… we all have that loved spot, but we see there’s some manmade pollution, so let’s pick it up, do it on one day and share the spirit,” said Carol Poland, an organizer with the event.
Poland emphasized COVID-19 and public health safety remains the main priority and organizers are asking people not to congregate in large groups. She said people can email her, and if there are organized groups interested in a larger spot such as a park, creek or trail, they can stake claim to the area.
The Rotary Club of Canmore has taken an active stance on both sustainability and the environment.
The organization donated $3,250 to the Town of Canmore earlier this year to help offset the costs for 32 local businesses to begin composting food as opposed to dumping it in the garbage.
The program is still seeing an intake in businesses and contributes to lessening the amount of organic waste that ultimately ends up in the landfill.
Joey O’Brien, the club’s climate action chair, said Rotary International made the environment and sustainability the seventh area of focus for the international organization.
With 1.2 million Rotarians worldwide and 250,000 clubs in 212 countries, O’Brien highlighted the difference people can make when they work together for a common goal.
“It allowed a focus. We’ve got a continuance of great things happening,” he said.
Locally, the organization has developed a list of projects it aims to work on. Though COVID-19 has curtailed ambitions slightly, O’Brien said more groups are coming on board, especially as public health restrictions are reduced.
“There’s all kinds of people who are looking at the end of the tunnel when it comes to COVID, wanting to get outside, wanting to do something and this seems to be the perfect mix of date and time along with the weekend and weather," he said.
“It’s a small scale event that’ll make a big difference.”
Poland, who joined the club about a year ago, said it’s an open invitation to all people. The event also picks up on the work from fellow Rotarian Gloria Folden, who has organized several clean-up litter events.
She also asked people to bring their own bags – with a preference on biodegradable – as well as gloves.
“The garbage and litter is beginning to be very noticeable,” Poland said. “It was my motivation to say, I know many people in the community love the environment and they pick up litter themselves, so why not have an organized day where people can see others and have it be a great community spirit event. … World Environment Day is a great day to come together as safe as we can under COVID and say, ‘let’s do it.’”
Interested people or groups can email Poland at [email protected].
People in need of gloves, bags and pickers can also call in advance of the event to the Town of Canmore's public works department at 403-678.1580.
What: World Environment Day
When: Saturday June 5
Why: To help clean-up areas of the Bow Valley
How: Email Carol Poland for more information at: [email protected]