On October 10, 2017 Alan Hansell from Stewards of Cootes Paradise joined the club to update us on the group's community and environmental involvement; he was last here in January of 2016. He also shared his personal connection to Rotary, which includes his own exchange to Japan as a teen and having received a Paul Harris award.

The Cootes watershed is the Dundas Valley. Each of our homes is a watershed for one of our creeks; Alan suggested this is something to think about, for example, if you’re washing your car in the driveway, as storm sewers generally go straight to a creek.

The volunteers for the Stewards are out to clean up the creeks. For example, they have removed in the past few months 5700 bags of garbage from the creeks and their banks. There is a display at the Dundas museum of older treasures they’ve found. They now also are working in the Red Hill watershed.

Their goal is to get the creeks clean and to keep them clean. When something is clean people care more about keeping it clean; a main focus of their work is community engagement. There are cleanup opportunities for everyone, including easy, moderate, and rugged. Cleanups are every Sunday 1-4; in the heat of the summer they shift to the morning. There also are monthly stewardship opportunities once an area is clean.
Cleaning up this garbage in our environment eliminates hazards to wildlife and reduces leachate from polymers and microplastics. There is a salmon run this time of year; clean up has doubled the size of their spawning ground.
Alan and his volunteers also get involved to solve recurring problems at their source, for example, how the paint from the ice surface at our local arenas gets disposed.