Earth Day cleanup held by River Canard Canoe Co.


By Jonathan Martin


River Canard’s waterfowl have gotten their spring cleaning done – with a little help from local humans.

Around 75 environmental enthusiasts from across Windsor-Essex congregated around River Canard Canoe Co., both in celebration of Earth Day and to spiff up their feathered friends’ home.  The canoe company’s owner, Ron LaPointe, put the event together.  By the end of the day, though, it became a community effort.

The River Canard Canoe Co. provided canoes and garbage bags so the cleanup’s volunteers could get out onto the water to take care of floating litter.  When they got back on dry land, they could toss the litter into a bin lent by Countryside Disposal Service.  As the bin filled up, they could turn to the water, admire their work and partake in the refreshments donated by Bulls Eye Pizza.

Scott Beneteau, Brad Cookson, Jodi Beneteau, Kelsea Cookson and Kristy Cookson stand behind the trailer of litter they pulled from the Canard River last Sunday
afternoon. A River Canard cleanup was organized by River Canard Canoe Co.

The old, the young, families, friends, acquaintances and strangers all buzzed about the river, bags in hand, trying to do their part to keep their hamlet healthy.

Wanda Carr said she filled up three garbage bags in under an hour.

“It’s really sad to see so much garbage,” she said.  “But it’s really fantastic to see so many people here.  What a sense of community!”

Carr said she trudged along the riverbank while her friends, Sheri Blair-Weatherbie and Lauren Kawai, paddled around in the water.

“We saw a lot of wildlife,” Kawai said.  “Animals scurrying across the ground and fish jumping out of the water.  When you see a little critter and a piece of garbage right next to it, you realize how important this is.”

The river is pockmarked by what LaPointe describes as “hotspots.”  Based on the ebb and flow of the water, detritus tends to gather in particular areas.  One of them is the Hancock and Dean 1812 Bridge to Nationhood.  From there, three small trailers’ worth of refuse was removed from the waterway.

“There are sections of the river we didn’t even get to this year,” said LaPointe.  “The watershed is just so big.  There’s lots to clean.”

Sheri Blair-Weatherbie, Wanda Carr and Lauren Kawai stand behind a canoe at River Canard Canoe Co. in River Canard last Sunday. The three friends helped clean up the river in celebration of Earth Day.

LaPointe said he plans to hold the event again next year, declaring that it will be “bigger and better.”  He said he’s well on his way.

“Last year was the first year I did this,” he said.  “We only had five people show up.”

This year, the event saw a 1,400 per cent increase in patronage.

If the trend continues, at least the ducks’ home will be clean for its many, many guests.



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