Volunteers Help Clean Up Great Lakes Shorelines

Volunteers in Leelanau County stepped up to help clean up the shoreline.

Earth Day Trash 1The Watershed Center of Grand Traverse Bay in partnership with the Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians hosted their second annual Great Lakes CleanUP Event. Volunteer Donna Swallows says she’s volunteering for Earth Day.

“We came out to support Earth Day and we respect Mother Earth. We just want to help keep Mother Earth beautiful,” Swallows says.

The Environmental Services Coordinator for the Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Jenna Shibe, says she’s excited to kick off their second year.

“I’m excited about today. We have folks from all part of the community. From the GTD community as well as the greater area. Everybody is coming together for a good cause to support the watershed, the water, the resource,” Shibe states.

Volunteer Swallows says it’s important to clean up for future generations. Swallows was joined by her daughter, Theresa Marshall, who says Earth Day is everyday.

“Earth Day is not designated to help clean up, but every day is Earth Day. And we take care of our Mother Earth,” Marshall says.

The Watershed Center and The Band is partnering with organizations across the Great Lakes to keep the shorelines clean. Organizers will tally the total weight of trash collected at each public clean up event. The Watershed Center’s Heather Smith says Friday was a good start.

“We probably have close to 100 pounds of materials today. Last year in our inaugural event we removed almost 2,000 pounds of trash along the Great Lakes,” Smith explains.

According to a press release, the Great Lakes CleanUP in 2021 engaged nearly 3,000 volunteers that collected overEarth Day Trash 2 72,000 pounds of trash across Great Lakes shorelines.

Volunteers big and small came out to help clean up Friday. Organizers say no matter your age it’s important to learn about the environment and make an effort to keep it clean.

“It’s really important that we all take a sense of responsibility to ensure that we are protecting our water and our sensitive land. It’s really important for us to ensure we’re sharing that message to our younger generation. It’s great to see kids involved in these clean up efforts,” Smith says.

Organizers expect another great year, but say it’ll take everyone to keep the Great Lakes shorelines clean.

“If we want to protect our drinking water, we want to protect our sensitive lands, we want to protect our aquatic habitats — it’s going to take all of us,” Smith states.

Click here to find more information including dates and registration.

Categories: Earth Day