Scouts on the Shoreline

Shorelines are all around us. Anywhere that land connects to water, you will find a shoreline. This includes beaches, rivers, streams, lakes, storm drains and much more.

All shorelines face one common challenge: litter. Not only is litter hard on the eyes, but it poses real dangers to ecosystems, people and wildlife.

Luckily it’s not all bad news. Every year, more than 100 Scout groups organize shoreline cleanups in their communities. In 2015, Scouting members removed 7,458 kg of trash from their local shorelines. That’s the weight of 324 canoes! Think about that next time you’re portaging a heavy canoe.

It’s always a good time for youth to plan and participate in a Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. Pick a season that suits you or organize a cleanup during a celebration like Earth Day in April, World Oceans Day in June or the International Coastal Cleanup in September. Free Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup crests will be sent to your Section once you have reviewed your experience, submitted your cleanup data and completed an online evaluation.

Here are a few reasons Scouts and Scouters love shoreline cleanups:

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup fits perfectly with our adventures. Not only can youth of all ages participate, so can their parents and siblings. Colwood creek is our shoreline of choice. It’s a local park with a delicate ecosystem. After the cleanup, we feel as though we’ve made a considerable difference in our local park.

We organize a shoreline cleanup every year at our September Kick-Off Camp, cleaning up Nickle Lake Park and its surrounding camping areas. We clean by land, canoe and kayak. Our group usually collects seven to ten large bags of garbage, including fishing hooks and line, a major source of animal entanglement. We’ve also found inflatable toys that “got away” from their owners, including an inflatable killer whale.

Cynthia Major, 9th Juan De Fuca Group Commissioner, British Columbia

I strongly believe that each and every one of us is responsible for taking care of our planet and its creatures. Even though each of us is small, together we can make a huge impact.

After participating in a local shoreline cleanup I knew it was the perfect activity to bring back to my Scouts. For the last 8 years we have been inviting local Scouting groups to clean along the Lachine Canal. During our cleanups we’ve found some interesting items, like foreign coins or lost wallets we’ve been able to reunite with their owners.

Kevin Quist, 5th Weyburn Scouting Group Commissioner, Saskatchewan

After each cleanup, we talk about litter and its impact on the environment, wildlife and people. The main message after our discussions is that it is up to each of us to make a difference.

Virginia Elliott, 2nd Westmount Scouts, Quebec

We clean up the Northwest Arm in Halifax. It is very surprising what we find. There is a lot more plastic found than anything else, which is great that we find it because plastic should not be in the ocean. The cleanup is worthwhile because it helps the earth. It is a great team building activity because you need to work together to clean up the shoreline. Last year our Pack cleaned up six bags of garbage.

Zachary Fay, 1st Clayton Park Cubs – Cub Scout (Tracker), Nova Scotia

Register today at!

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, is a joint conservation program of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre and WWF-Canada, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited and supported by Ricoh Canada



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