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NWCC students help in national shore cleanup

PRINCE RUPERT Citing the TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup as a perfect opportunity to get involved in a hands-on conservation project, 17 students from the Applied Coastal Ecology (ACE) program took part by cleaning garbage around Hays Creek. It marks the seventh consecutive year that students and staff have participated in this nationwide event now in its 16th year. The Cleanup happens across the country with Canadians cleaning up shorelines, lakes and rivers. The Cleanup is not just about picking up garbage, it is a great example of communities across Canada working together to ensure our waterways are kept clean, says Natasha Lebedick, an ACE instructor, adding 80 per cent of marine litter originates from land based sources. Cleaning up our waste is the first step in restoring our waterways and keeping them healthy for all species, she said. Students in the ACE 182 Stream Habitat Assessment class participated in the cleanup as part of their required field work. As well, a natural resources class from Charles Hays Senior Secondary came out to help, said Lebedick, who worked as the site coordinator at Hays Creek. Part of her job as the site coordinator is to send information about the garbage collected at each cleanup site to the Vancouver Aquarium, where the info is submitted to the Ocean Conservancy as part of the International Coastal Cleanup, which then identifies what types of litter are found along the shorelines around the world to help prevent shoreline litter at its source. The most common shoreline litter is cigarette butts, followed by plastic bags, food wrappers, caps/lids and beverage cans, says Lebedick. She adds Hays Creek is no different but litter is not limited to those items. Over the years, shopping carts, bicycles and industrial waste were also very common at Hays Creek. This year, ACE students collected 18 bags of garbage, two bags of recyclable items, one sofa chair and road signage.

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