beach-cleanup1This past weekend I went with my family to the TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. It was a gorgeous day on English Bay as we showed up with about 50 or 60 other people to scour the beach and shoreline for litter.

As I kneeled in the sand, picking up lipstick-stained cigarette butts, bottle tops and unidentified styrofoam bits, I mused on how this event could be amped up from a branding perspective.

I found this event only after speaking with a colleague and telling him I was having trouble tracking down a volunteer ‘eco’ event to do with my son, Jaxon. I’ve been to the beaches several times over the summer, ride my bike around Vancouver, and frequent several of the usual local hippie haunts, but had not heard of this event until it’s final weekend. Where were the billboards? The beach teams of green-bikini-clad eco-babes (and buff dudes) building up excitement for the event? Perhaps they were there and I missed them. If so, I apologize. Especially to the babes. Maybe next year.

Imagery-wise, the peering frog on the banner was pretty cheerful.  But the whole event is begging for an icon. Something to add some FUN to the whole thing. After all, it’s basically spending a few hours picking garbage. It could use some smile. So I propose taking the frog idea and giving it a little attitude:


Second, was my experience with the online sign-in process. I think my last passport application had less fields to fill in. And once at the event, I had to put my name and email address down again as part of the waiver process.

That all said, I thought the organizing team did a very good job, briefing the teams and getting us organized. They were also very appreciative, which helped with my main objective, which was to start to get eco-volunteering into my son’s sphere of awareness. (How about an ‘I kicked butts today’ reward sticker!)

Stay tuned for more event reports as I continue the eco-education process. If you have any ideas fo other family-friendly volunteer events, please let me know.


UPDATE: I got a message from the cleanup coordinator listing the stats and unique finds from our particular group. I thought this was an excellent way to make the event personal, and instill a sense of pride. Here are the stats:

# of volunteers- approx 73
total distance cleaned – 0.5 km
amount of trash collected in lbs – 162.25
# of cigarette butts removed – 14,975!!!!
2nd most frequent item found – 545 caps/lids
3rd most frequent item found – 527 food wrappers/containers

odd items of interest found on our cleanup:
55 bandaids
12 sparklers/fireworks
1 hockey stick
5 pairs of 3d glasses 1 jug of red dye(???)

2 baggies of marijuana!

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