We spent most of yesterday in the ditch beside the highway during the annual Alberta Highway Clean-up project. This is the first year that our Junior Forest Warden club participated, and I’m not sure that we’ll do it next year. If we do, we definitely need a smaller section because it was a lot of highway for such a small club. We had 7 families come out to help which made for a total of 9 adults and 15 kids. One of those families had the duty of driving up and down the highway making sure that we had enough garbage bags, water, and snacks. That meant that we had six families with which to divide up the approximately 7 km of highway (both sides) that was assigned to us. And it was a main highway too which meant a LOT of garbage in some of the sections.
When we started we were lead to believe that it would only take a couple of hours – three tops. Well, four and 1/2 hours later in the blazing sun we still had two big sections left to do. If the kids in our group were older or even if we had more of them we might have persevered, but since the average age of our kids is between 8 and 10 we (pardon the pun) ditched the last couple of ditches. It was just too much for us.
We did make a difference though. We can drive by our pretty stretch of road with pride. And the kids learned some great lessons. Firstly, the value of helping the community. Secondly, NOT TO LITTER!!! Thirdly, to appreciate the hard work it takes to keep our communities clean. Fourthly, NOT TO LITTER.
They never littered anyway. They’ve heard me enough times going on and on about how wrong I think that is, but yesterday’s experience cemented it for them.
You know, though, while we were out there grumbling about the idiocy of some people who throw their drink containers out the window, we also got plenty of encouragement from those driving by. Many people honked and waved thanking us for our efforts. I won’t lie. It made me feel good. And it spurred the kids on, too. One lady even stopped and gave them some pop. So, next time you see people cleaning up your roads, give ’em a honk. They’ll like it.
When we wearily arrived home, all I could think about was the shower and my bed, but the first thing I noticed was our messy yard as we drove in the driveway. We’d just spent five hours cleaning up trash along the highway yet our own back yard is a mess. That motivated me to think about our own overdue spring cleaning. But not that day. That day I had the shower and collapsed with my book and then promptly fell asleep.
Today, though. The clean-up begins.