Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) members and other Edmontonians put in 128 hours to pull over 30 bags of trash, seven coffee cans filled with sharps, three shopping carts, two bicycles and assorted parts, a workout bench and a large round table out of Edmonton’s river valley at a clean-up event and barbeque on Sunday, Aug. 21.

“We braved the mosquitoes and rough trails in the Rat Creek and Kinnaird ravines to keep our natural spaces looking great,” said Environmental Committee chair Rod Feland. “There was a real sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.”

The event was held in partnership with the City of Edmonton, which provided materials and orientation to volunteers and the Norwood Legion, which hosted the event home base in their parking lot. City councillor for the area Tony Caterina stopped by to lend his support.

The Telus World of Science Edmonton also provided discount coupons to volunteers, and is now offering an ongoing discount to AUPE members interested in accessing family friendly environmental, science and technology education and entertainment year-round.

The committee hopes to make the clean up an annual event, expanding on the experience and lessons learned this time around. One eye-opening aspect for volunteers was their exposure to homelessness and addictions evident off the beaten track in Edmonton’s river valley. The committee plans to work more closely with agencies serving Edmontonians facing addictions and homelessness for future events.