Community involved in large-scale cleanup

Earth Week organizer Maurice Mazurat helps a young beaver to put garbage in a bag during the group’s garbage cleanup on May 10.

Earth Week organizer Maurice Mazurat helps a young beaver to put garbage in a bag during the group’s garbage cleanup on May 10.

ADAM JACKSON/Ponoka News

When the snow thaws, it seems to leave an unsightly gift — garbage.

Under the direction of Earth Week organizer Maurice Mazurat, Ponoka Scouts and large parts of the St. Augustine and PCHS student bodies took to the streets to clean up the unsightly mess.

On May 10 a group of 25 scouts and beavers cleaned up an area around their clubhouse. With supervision, the youngsters cleaned up the paths and the side of the highway near the Highway 53 bridge. In the end, they picked up several bags filled with everything from cigarette butts to a dead bird.

St. Augustine School was also involved in the cleanup on May 10 during the school day, collecting two full pick-up truck loads of garbage.

On May 13, the students at PCHS did their part. Students at the school were encouraged to work as a team and clean up several different areas around the school, with the reward of a free barbecue when they are complete.

Along with picking up regular garbage, the students were offered prizes for the biggest, most reusable, most antique, the most colourful/sparkly and, of course, the most garbage in general.

The winners of the categories win doughnuts for their classes.

A few peculiar items were brought in after the clean up was done, ranging from a full armoire to a full-size mesh antenna dish.

Although there were some students who appeared to be there just for the free lunch, there were a few students who were enthused about cleaning up the area.

“I actually care about the environment,” said PCHS student Dean Bruno. “I hope it will help in the end, but we’ll have to keep doing the same thing every year.”

Teacher Kathy McTaggart, who was intimately involved with the second annual PCHS cleanup, was impressed with the turnout.

“We made a difference,” said McTaggart.

“It’s interesting to see just how much garbage was brought back.”

Mazurat was impressed with the enthusiasm.

“People are becoming more aware of the environment,” said Mazurat. “I’m seeing a lot of attitudes changing.”

Mazurat is also in the process of developing a ‘Green Committee’ in the area and has received excellent responses from people in the community. So far, three students, two local business owners and a few teachers have been interested in joining the committee.

Getting youths involved in the committee is something that Mazurat is also stressing. He is aiming to have students comprise 50 per cent of the committee members.

“It’s going to be their world to live in and they should have an input on what goes on.”