Youths help beautify streets of Ponoka

The streets of the Ponoka were cleaner after hundreds of youths conducted some much needed garbage pick up May 10.

St. Augustine Catholic School students Cole Howlett-McAuley and Liam Wilkins help with garbage cleanup along Highway 53 near their school May 10.

St. Augustine Catholic School students Cole Howlett-McAuley and Liam Wilkins help with garbage cleanup along Highway 53 near their school May 10.

The streets of the Ponoka were cleaner after hundreds of youths conducted some much needed garbage pick up May 10.

The first efforts of the Ponoka Green Team culminated in students from Ponoka Composite High School (PCHS), St. Augustine Catholic School and Diamond Willow Middle School converging on Centennial Park after collecting garbage throughout the town.

From May 6 to 11 the team coordinated groups to have a project for one of those days. May 10 was Schools Can Day and organizers worked with the schools to ensure bring youths out in the community, said co-ordinator Maurice Mazurat.

His main goal is to highlight environmental issues. “(The) first priority is to raise awareness for what the community can do for the environment.”

“Government can pass as many laws as they want but as long as the people don’t back it up, it doesn’t mean anything,” added Mazurat.

The Ponoka Green Team was formed last fall and is a committee under Ponoka Pride. Mazurat hopes to see a website developed soon with a monthly newsletter and updates once the group is more organized.

They also intend to focus on different aspects of the environment each month. For May the team is looking at gardening; natural pesticides and composting will be discussed.

Almita Piling provided trucks and staff to help out with the clean up and provided the hotdogs and hamburgers to the students after garbage collection. Ken Stebner, director of special projects, was proud to be a sponsor of the event. “I think it’s just great that we can come together as a community and for Maurice to lead the pack…It’s great to see the kids out.”

Kendra Emes, Grade 10 student at PCHS enjoyed being out and about in Ponoka. “I think it’s a fun day for everyone because we’re helping the community.”

She also enjoyed seeing students from other schools.

“You get to interact with everyone because there’s a whole bunch of schools here,” Emes added.

Mayor Larry Henkelman praised the students for the hard work. “What a great picture you all make for the Town of Ponoka…You set a great example for our community spirit.”

Wetaskiwin MP Blaine Calkins also praised the students for their efforts.

“Keep up the good work for the environment and for generations to come.”

He feels an event such as Schools Can will bring more awareness to issues. “Obviously environmental consciousness is prevalent in all societies today.”

Each day of the week organizations and homeowners were asked to do their part in the being environmentally friendly from starting a “green” project to conducting cleanup in their areas.