TACKLE THE TRASH - People from around the valley will be taking two hours out of their Sunday morning on September 25th to pick up the garbage left on the Lake Windermere shoreline after the busy summer season. File photo

TACKLE THE TRASH – People from around the valley will be taking two hours out of their Sunday morning on September 25th to pick up the garbage left on the Lake Windermere shoreline after the busy summer season. File photo

By James Rose

Special to The Pioneer

On Sunday, September 25th, the Lake Windermere Amabassadors are hosting their twice-per-year Shoreline Cleanup around the shores of Lake Windermere and Dorothy Lake. Taking place from 10 a.m. to noon, the cleanup will be followed by a waste-free (plates and cutlery provided) appreciation picnic provided by sponsor Rocky River Grill.

Specifically, our efforts will be targeting the shoreline at James Chabot Provincial Park, Windermere Beach, Dorothy Lake, Kinsmen Beach, and the waters edge along the Invermere public boat launch, said Megan Peloso, program co-ordinator for the Lake Windermere Ambassadors.

We are still looking for helpers to pick up litter, tally data cards, and to round up and transport the trash bags away at the end of the day. We will provide gloves and bags, said Ms. Peloso.

Before the cleanup gets underway, groups of two to four people will be formed and given a data card to record what kind of trash is being collected.

After we finish the cleanup, the data cards are then sent back to an organization called the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup which was formed in conjunction with the World Wildlife Foundation and the Vancouver Aquarium, said Ms. Peloso. From there, the cards are analyzed to determine what the most frequent items fouling Canadian shorelines are and what can be done to mitigate these leading contaminants.

For Lake Windermere, some of the most common contaminants are plastic bags, disposable food and drink containers and cigarette butts.

Across Canadian shorelines, 409,417 cigarette butts were collected in 2015 alone, ranking it #1 on the Dirty Dozen list. These are harmful both aesthetically and environmentally as waterfowl and wildlife can get fatally sick upon ingesting them, Ms. Peloso explained.

With a mandate to protect and maintain the health of Lake Windermere through community outreach and lake health monitoring programs, the Shoreline Cleanup is a perfect way for the Lake Windermere Ambassadors to accomplish their goals; and keeping Lake Windermeres shorelines clean is important not just for the environment but also for the Columbia Valley economy.

It is in everyones best interest to keep the shore litter-free because aesthetics and a shared ethic go a long way in maintaining and cultivating Lake Windermere as the strong economic driver that it already is, said Ms. Peloso. If everyone who visits the lake did simple things like pack out what they packed in (in all seasons), pick up forgotten or wind-blown litter, use re-usable coffee mugs instead of disposable cups, each would go a really long way to help keep Lake Windermere healthy and beautiful for all of us to enjoy.

For more information, visit www.lakeambassadors.ca. Register to join by emailing [email protected] or calling 250-341-6898. Registration is on a first come, first served basis.