Understanding how our choices affect the environment, it's best to see living (or not so living) proof! We're familiar with some of the ways in which we can live more sustainably, like repair instead of replace, reuse instead of single-use plastic and water conservation. Litter is a great way to fully appreciate the non-biodegradable options and can easily be seen on any given day in any public park or along a road, especially a highway. The impact of litter is harmful to wildlife, who often mistake it for food, get entangled in it, or suffocate on it.
Plastic pollutes our waterways and oceans, especially micro-plastics that can accumulate in the water and harm marine ecosystems. In the process, harmful chemicals leach into the environment and increases the risk of disease to humans.
Thankfully, we are gardeners. We understand the importance of creating biodiverse ecosystems in our gardens, plant native trees, shrubs and flowers, and utilize rain barrels for watering our garden. We plant drought-tolerant lawn alternatives instead of non-native grass lawns and we do what we can to help nature flourish, while providing us with endless amounts of satisfaction by seeing our hard work pay off.
For Earth Day, why not organize a litter clean-up scavenger hunt for families?
If you live in Waterloo, the city will provide you with all the necessary tools and resources to help with your adventure. Click here if you live in Kitchener for their program.
Here's how to create a fun and engaging litter scavenger hunt:
Choose a location: Pick a park, beach, or other outdoor area that is known to have litter.
Make a list: Create a list of items that the kids need to find during the scavenger hunt. Some examples include: plastic bottles, aluminum cans, cigarette butts, candy wrappers, paper bags, plastic bags, straws, plastic utensils, glass bottles, food containers.
Print out the list: Print out the list of items for each child participating in the scavenger hunt.
Explain the rules: Explain the rules of the scavenger hunt to the kids. Let them know what they can and cannot touch or take from the environment. Be sure to emphasize the importance of respecting nature and leaving the area cleaner than they found it.
Start the hunt: Set the kids loose to start their scavenger hunt. Encourage them to work together and help each other find the items on the list.
Dispose of the litter: Once the scavenger hunt is over, collect all the litter that the kids found and dispose of it properly. This is a great opportunity to teach kids about the importance of recycling and reducing waste.
Reward the winners: Once the scavenger hunt is over, review the items found by each child. The child who found the most items on the list can be declared the winner, and they can receive a small prize or recognition for their accomplishment.
Overall, a litter scavenger hunt is a fun and educational activity that encourages kids to be responsible and caring about the environment. It's a great way to get them excited about reducing litter and keeping outdoor spaces clean and healthy.
PRO TIP: For smaller children, have an adult supervise the hunt. Keeping our children safe from unwanted items and garbage that could be dangerous is our number one priority!