By Shari Fenn, Content Contributor
The Town of Okotoks, in cooperation with the Okotoks River Valley Committee, would like to invite everyone from the Calgary Region to the 14th Annual Sheep River Valley Clean Up and Tree Planting.
The event is happening again at Ethel Tucker Park (beside the Okotoks Library), May 9th 2015 from 9am- 12 noon.
This is an opportunity for people to come together to help beautify our river valley by either tree planting or litter clean up.
This is a popular event that brings together volunteers, businesses, community groups and service clubs, along with the Calgary Health Region, Okotoks Fire Department, RCMP and Town staff.
The Town hopes to inspire other communities in the Calgary Region to do the same.
River clean-ups are an excellent way to connect a community to their river.
If you want to volunteer with river clean-up or just want to know why they are important, read on.
Why river clean-ups are important?
Millions of tons of trash and pollutants end up in our nation’s rivers and streams every year.
Trash is more than just an eyesore; it can contaminate our river water.
According to Tracy Hill, who is helping to organize this year’s Sheep River Clean-up, “A lot of people are surprised at what actually gets pulled out of the River Valley. Some people make it a game as to how much they can gather and who can find the most unique thing. It is always nice to find out how much trash is collected. It is a sense of pride for our community.”
Benefits of a river clean-up
The benefits surrounding the Sheep River Clean-Up are immediate:
- Feeling of ownership and responsibility for the river.
- Huge pile of litter and debris symbols of a job well done keeping the river clean .
- Cans, tires and debris no longer line the river bank.
- Young people are educated on the stewardship of our natural resources.
- People want to contribute more after the clean-up so it’s not just a quick fix.
Tracy Hill explains that in the long term, a healthier river has economic and social benefits for Okotoks including:
- Preserves one of our most valuable assets, the River Valley, which in turn gives families and friends a beautiful place to gather.
- The River Valley is walking distance from everyone’s home, which is a wonderful real estate feature.
- Helps promote a healthily lifestyle for Okotoks’ residence. This is in turn creates a more walkable community.
Register for clean-up today
Pre-register for the clean-up by Thursday, May 7 or show up on the day of the clean-up to register in person.
You are also welcome to join the Okotoks folks at an appreciation BBQ from 12:00 pm noon to 1:00 pm (rain out day is Sunday, May 10th 2015).
People, who want to plant some trees, are asked to bring their own shovel and sign up early as this has been a popular position as years have gone by.
Anyone who wants to register before the day is encouraged to visit the Town’s website.
“It is always nice to find out how much trash is collected. It is a sense of pride for our community”
This year you can even request the area you want to clean up! The organizers are expecting upwards of 200 people this year!
There are prizes to be won, coffee to be had, and food to be consumed. Plus, this year there will be entertainment for the whole family, with live music and a bouncy castle.
Conservation experts will be on hand to answer questions people may have.
Last year, volunteers picked up 2,000 pounds of garbage and planted 2,800 trees.
“It is always nice to see all the people who come down that take such pride in our community. To discover how much trash these hard working people collect is amazing. People who plant trees can visit those very trees years later and watch them grow! I love to see the sense of pride and ownership people have for our community,” said Tracy Hill.
Cleanups are a great way to meet your neighbours and get some fresh air while helping the environment! So come on out.
I hope to see you there.
Shari Fenn is a storyteller, inbound content writer and owner of Cross Communications