Alderville Shoreline Cleanup Project

Written by Christine Drader 

On Tuesday, July 20th, myself, Avalon, and Taylor from Turtle Island Conservation as well as Michelle from the Great Lakes Program went to Alderville First Nation for a shoreline cleanup event. This event was in partnership with Alderville Black Oak Savanna, and was funded by the Great Lakes Local Action Fund (Government of Ontario).

Our cleanup team from left to right: Taylor, Christine, Michelle, and Avalon. Here we are beside the cleanup area by the local wetland.

Our team set up an outreach tent containing a variety of materials from our Adopt-A-Pond, Turtle Island Conservation, and Great Lakes programs. We had turtle, frog, and toad models for people of all ages to appreciate. As well, pamphlets and stickers were available as take-home materials. We also informed volunteers of our community science programs: Turtle Tally, FrogWatch and Clam Counter. You can find out more about these programs at https://www.torontozoo.com/adoptapond/citizenscience and https://www.torontozoo.com/tz/mussels.  

Here is where we set up our educational outreach tent. We had various models of local species, pamphlets and educational handouts, cleanup and PPE supplies, and our raffle ticket box for volunteers to win a free trip to the Toronto Zoo!

We focused our outreach on species of reptiles and amphibians native to the Alderville area. We were even lucky enough to find a few species near us! In the local wetland we found many leopard frogs hopping around the area as well as painted turtles basking on logs. During our cleanup, we found a milksnake hiding from the summer heat underneath a discarded piece of wood!  

From top to bottom: 1) Milksnake hiding under discarded pile of material 2) Taylor educating some young volunteers on the local leopard frog 3) A closeup of the leopard frog

Overall, we had a fantastic day for the cleanup. We filled 8 garbage bags full and weighed them at the recycling plant. In total, we removed 80kg of garbage materials from the local wetland!  

Here is the primary area we were finding discarded materials. From lamps, hammers, trash, decorative plates━we found it all!

The Alderville community has a diverse number of wetland and grassland ecosystems. These types of ecosystems are highly effective carbon sinks. Carbon sinks are natural areas that absorb large amounts of carbon (carbon dioxide, CO2) from the atmosphere and store it through a process called carbon sequestration. Without these ecosystems, we lose the potential of carbon sequestration and increase issues attributing to climate change. That is why it is important to protect and conserve these ecosystems—including keeping them free of garbage and waste!  

The local wetland near the cleanup site.

Thank you so much to everyone who volunteered their time. And most of all, thank you to Alderville Black Oak Savanna for hosting the event. They are a fantastic organization that works to preserve, restore, and expand the grassland within Alderville. This native grassland is the largest intact tract of grassland in Central Ontario and is home to two types of endangered grasslands: the tallgrass prairie and oak savanna! As well, they provide outreach and educational material via onsite tours and programming as well at outreach events and conferences. You can check them out at http://aldervillesavanna.ca/ or their Instagram @aldervilleblackoaksavanna.  

Additionally, this project was made possible by the Great Lakes Local Action Fund grant. Our team will be travelling to Indigenous communities across the summer and fall for outreach and cleanup events. Stay tuned for more updates on each event!