Volunteers weather rain to clean up river


Poor weather conditions weren’t enough to deter volunteers from getting their hands dirty at the annual TD Clean and Green RiverFest.

A total of 174 volunteers collectively picked up 270 kg of wet trash and planted 265 trees at the annual river clean up and environment fair on May 13.

Meghan Myers, the city environmental co-ordinator, said they were aiming for about 300 volunteers, but when the wind and rain started, she only expected about 100.

“We’re quite pleased with the numbers. It shows that our community is excited and dedicated to help beautify the city,” she says. “The turnout was pretty decent for such a miserable day.”

This was the 20th annual river cleanup event, where residents cleaned up trash that had collected along the Sturgeon River throughout the winter.

The event also featured an environment fair and live music played by the Alberta Rose band.

Some of the booths were Alberta Environment and Parks, Canada’s 150 and the city’s planning and development’s Urban Beekeeping booth.

“The idea was that people would come to the environment fair and then do some of the activities, such as the tree planting or the river pick up, and then enjoy the free barbecue,” she says.

While the normal bits of trash found along the river include scrunched bundles of Kleenex tissues, empty glass bottles of rum and empty beer cans, one resident says he found something unusual.

“I found a car,” says resident Miles Schenk, laughing. “It was a car frame and a bumper stuck in the underbrush.”

Schenk, 62, says it was his first time volunteering at the river cleanup. After years of using the beautiful St. Albert trails, he says he wanted to give back.

“The town spends a lot of money keeping it clean and so I thought I should help out. It was a little wet, but it wasn’t terrible,” he says.

Starting at the BMX trail on Riel Drive, he made his way up to Ray Gibbon Drive. Along the way he stumbled across the car frame protruding out of a bush.

“I thought that’s kind of weird,” he says. “It looked like it’s from the early ’50s, like a Buick or something.”

Schenk left the frame in its place.

Myers says each year volunteers stumble upon interesting items.


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Dayla Lahring

Dayla Lahring joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2017. She writes about business, health, general news and features. She also contributes photographs.