A Royston Elementary student and a parent volunteer work together to clean up litter from Royston’s shoreline on Thursday. Photo by Scott Strasser.

Comox Valley schools participate in nation-wide beach cleanup program

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is getting some helping hands from the Comox Valley’s schools this month.

Nearly 200 students from four Valley schools are participating in beach clean-up programs throughout June, under the auspice of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup (GCSC) — the largest conservation-based clean-up program in Canada.

Read More: Record amount of debris collected in annual Baynes Sound beach cleanup

Local schools’ involvement in the GCSC this month started June 14, with about 20 students from Royston Elementary taking part in a beach clean-up at their shoreline. Other Valley schools that will get involved include Huband Park Elementary, Airport Elementary, and G.P Vanier Secondary. Roughly 60 Huband students are scheduled to clean up Finlay Creek on June 21 at 12:30 p.m., while 100 Airport students will conduct their cleanup of Airforce Beach at 9:00 a.m. on June 27.

The G.P. Vanier Environment Club will also participate, with a scheduled cleanup of Towhee Creek on June 24.

Video by Scott Strasser

For Royston Elementary students, participating in beach cleanups is nothing new.

Every Thursday, a Grade 2-3 class from Royston walks down the street to the local beach, where they spend an hour picking up metal, litter, and other discarded items.

Royston Elementary principal Katy Doran said the students enjoy the weekly outings.

“The kids love coming down here,” she said. “They bring their picnic lunches down here, they look forward to it. We have lots of parents who come and take turns volunteering with them.”

Doran said Royston Elementary will also participate in a school-wide beach clean-up on Monday, June 25.

“The whole school — 230 kids — will be down here, and we always make sure it’s cleaner when we leave than when we arrived,” she said, adding it’s also an opportunity for the students to learn about conservation and beach ecosystems.

The GCSC is a conservation partnership between WWF Canada and Ocean Wise, (the parent company of the Vancouver Aquarium).

The program started in Vancouver’s Stanley Park 25 years ago and has included nearly 20,000 various beach clean-ups across the nation.

The website claims around 700,000 volunteers have cleaned up more than 1.2 million kilograms of trash from Canada’s shorelines.

According to shorelinecleanup.ca, 77,000 Canadians took part in the GCSC last year.

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