Wearing high-visibility fests and festive smiles, volunteers spent Sunday afternoon wading through ditches and pushing through tree-lines flanking the path to remove as much garbage as they could.
“It’s a beautiful day and we care, I care, about the ocean, the forest and this beautiful place,” said Tofino Yoga owner Dede Monette
“We’re surrounded by the ocean and we all know about the plastic that we have on our ground here going straight into the ocean and being a huge menace to our precious ecosystem,” added Alys Hoyland. “Living in Tofino and being able to enjoy the amazing wildlife and surroundings that we have all around us all the time, I think it’s really important to look after that as best we can.”
The April 22 Earth Day event was organized by the Surfrider Foundation’s Pacific Rim Chapter and booths were set up at the Tofino Botanical Gardens, Jamie’s Rainforest Inn and Cox Bay Visitor Centre to welcome any and all litter-busters to the party and help them get into the spirit of the day.
“It’s important for us to be here and to get the groms and little kids involved and the families, who are huge parts of this community, and to involve everybody and get everyone stoked on cleaning up,” said Surfrider volunteer Colleen Sedgwick at Jamie’s station.
Tofino local Bobbi Chisholm was happy to use the event as a vessel for getting her kids engaged in their environment.
“It is important to keep our earth clean and it’s important for me to show my children what’s important about doing our duty for Mother Earth,” she said. “We need Mother Earth to be clean and happy so that we can breathe and live on this earth in union.”
The local Surfrider team recently launched the Foundation’s first youth club in Canada and the club’s co-chair Emmett Wellman said the litter collected on Sunday would be recorded and the stats presented to local stakeholders to promote change.
“We live in this naturally serene area with luscious green and luscious oceans and we want to protect that by taking responsibility for our actions,” he said adding locals can help everyday by picking up litter and encouraging others to do the same.
“It’s fun to get out there and be a part of everything. We’ve just got to help protect our home.”
Youth club member Sanoa Olin encourages people to keep their community clean.
“I find it super sad how there’s so much garbage, trash and litter everywhere,” she said.
Youth club co-chair Toby Theriault said it’s important to help out before it’s too late.
“It’s everybody’s world and if we don’t protect it then it’s not going to be there anymore for the next generation,” she said.
Cleaning up the MUP on Earth Day has been a longstanding tradition in Tofino since the Wickaninnish Inn helped launch an inaugural event roughly 15 years ago. The Inn’s Managing Director Charles McDiarmid was one of the volunteers picking up litter on Sunday and said he’s been delighted to see Surfrider grab onto the annual event’s helm.
“They’re really taking it over and making it an even bigger deal than it ever was. It’s a great tradition, we’re having fun doing it and, of course, we get a sunny, beautiful, day today too,” he said.
“You want to make sure that your own backyard is clean. If you believe in the environment and taking care of Mother Nature, then it’s incumbent upon everyone to do what they can…It makes it nicer for all of us who live here and the visitors that come to enjoy this pristine wilderness, so, it’s a win-win all the way around and, most importantly, it’s great for Mother Nature.”