2011 Highway Cleanup

            Spring is here! The robins are back and roly-poly, orange plastic garbage bags are dotting Alberta highway shoulders. Each year, the Alberta Highway Cleanup Campaign runs the first or second Saturday in May with local not-for-profit and service clubs participating.
            On May 7, 2011, we caught up with a handful of the twenty-three kids from the Falun East (Beef) 4-H who, along with ten parents, picked trash from both sides of Hwy 13 just west of Wetaskiwin.
            Commenting on the kids’ involvement in the campaign, Leader Kevin Cummings said, “It’s good for the kids. Community involvement and volunteering is a good learning experience. The kids enjoy it too.” 
            Indeed! The kids’ enthusiasm to discuss their clean-up adventures was immediate and genuine.
            Austin Cummings said, “I like finding weird things. That’s the coolest part!” What weird things did they find? “We found car keys, hotel room keys.” “We found lots of coffee cups—one was a ‘roll-up the rim to win’ a free coffee!” “We also found half a coyote and a [dead] lamb in separate spots!” Sadly, no money...!
            “The worst part for me was when it started raining because I got cold,” said Hedwig Wiersma. “But the best part for me was finding the mice.” 
            Mice? Apparently, this is an unusually good year for mice!
            “Yes. We found three of them and carried them around with us in a tin can.” The kids were clearly smitten with their four-legged companions. “We named them Gibby, Giblet and...ummm....”
            “And Sally!” chimed Kaitlin Hirsekorn.
            Alas, with sad adieu, the kids released the furry trio back into the wild when the parent supervisors refused them admittance into their vehicles for the ride home.
            During the interview, some passing drivers honked their horns and waved. The kids really appreciated it. “It shows they see us,” said Will Harink. 
            Jolt Wiersma responded, “I like it because it shows they respect us.”
            You cannot help but notice the cleaned up ditches compared to those not yet combed. One glance reveals the beneficial impact these kids and adults have made on the environment. Thanks to them, our local highways are beautiful once again.
            To all the kids and adults participating in the 2011 Alberta Highway Cleanup Campaign: Beep! Beep! We DO respect you! 
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