While Algonquin students were collecting trash, bottles, cans and cigarette butts in separate blue, black and khaki bags, some small dead fish floated by the west shore of Petrie Island.
The fish were among the debris scooped up Sept. 15 — symbolic of humanity’s impact on the natural environment — as Algonquin student volunteers joined the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, a project aimed at cleaning one bit of trash at a time wherever water meets land.
The cleanup was hosted by World Wildlife Fund to engage Algonquin students in such a meaningful activity.
“We should take care of nature otherwise we are going to face really difficult situations being unable to access the beautiful nature,” said Bona Kim, a first-year business accounting student.
People can make a difference for wildlife in our areas according to the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup organization.
Living Planet was formed in 2017-2018. Its intent is to introduce the culture of sustainability and promote in the students a sense of contribution to the community.
“There is an additional component to the partnership between WWF and Algonquin College,” said Olivia Routliffe, a volunteer and an administrative assistant for applied science and environmental technology.
She believes that this is an opportunity for students to create their profiles not only for the academic institutions they are studying in but also for their workforce.
“Not only do we host events in conjunction with each other, we are able to share resources and direct Algonquin College students to the WWF Living Planet Leader program,” Routliffe said.
Such activities make a difference for wildlife, and it keeps students concerned for other communities in the city. Algonquin students walked from shore to shore to collect trash that could be harmful to the wildlife in water.
“It is a good opportunity to give to the society.” Kim said. “As an international student it is hard to find opportunities to connect with the communities,”
Jason Verboomen, who is the professor of applied sciences and environmental technology, also believes that it is good for the college community to be involved in and to be aware of the initiatives going on. He joined Algonquin students in the clean-up mission.
“It’s important to be doing this. It’s good to be trying to reduce the amount of garbage on the shoreline. I promote this to my students too,” Verboomen said.