Volunteers spend hundreds of hours cleaning out trash in Red Hill Watershed

Dozens of volunteers have spent nearly 500 hours removing garbage and debris out of the Davis Creek waterway.

Every weekend 18-year-old Rosie Rolfe and her nine month old daughter Maizey join other volunteers dedicated to cleaning up the Red Hill Watershed.

“I hate littering,” Rolfe says. “I hate anything to do with litter in the creeks.”

Rosie tucks Maizey in like a baby kangaroo while she works.

“It’s good experience for her and hopefully she’ll learn to take care of the environment” the mother explains.

On Saturday 17 volunteers pulled a variety of items out of Davis Creek like shopping carts and dozens of bags full of garbage and old bottles.

“It’s an area that hasn’t been cleaned up for decades, if ever,” another volunteer Alan Hansell said.

Hansell says he’s on a mission to clean up all the creeks across the city. It’s why he formed the Stewards of Cootes five years ago and now this group in April.
They’re out every weekend from March to December to pull junk out of the water.

“We’re probably up to over 30 shopping carts that have come out of a small section of the creek,” Hansell recalls. “The first time I came out here, five minutes in the water I found six, seven foot t-bars, found five shopping carts, tires.”

Hansell says the impacts of garbage compounding over time isn’t just an issue for aquatic life.

“Having this sort of stuff in the creek is absolutely a problem for flooding,” the volunteer said. “You need to be able to come out on a regular basis. In Cootes we’ve been working for five years and we may be about halfway to getting the lower part of that watershed clean.”

Rosie and her young daughter hope to inspire others to make a difference too.

“Be the change you want to see in the world,” Rolfe explains. “That’s they way I kind of think about it.”

Visit the Stewards of Cootes website to get involved.


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