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Spring cleaning on tap this weekend

Factory polluting the environment (color toned image)

This Sunday marks the annual Earth Day event, when people all over the world are encouraged to take a few extra hours from their day to support the environment. This area, of course, is no exception, and there are plenty of activities being planned over the weekend for people to get involved, many under the umbrella of Woolwich Healthy Communities.

Cleanup activities are being planned for Saturday, weather permitting, from 8:30 a.m. to noon all around Woolwich, including several in Elmira, such as at the Lions Park, Bolender Park and on the Kissing Bridge Trail. More cleanups are planned for Maryhill, Bloomingdale, St. Jacobs, Floradale and Heidelberg at their local parks as well.

Elmira resident Myrna Shantz, who for the past couple of years has been leading the group at Bolender Park with her husband, points out how much of an improvement a bit of effort can make.

“I’ve lived in this community for over 50 years. I like to give back, I like my community to look nice and neat and tidy when people come in,” she says, adding that Bolender is almost like the entrance into Elmira for people coming from out town, so there’s a strong motivation for keeping it as clean as possible.

“It’s a small bit of time, it’s once a year, it usually takes us a morning, so we’re talking about two or three hours maybe at maximum. And for that, we have a community that’s pleasing and clean,” she says.

To get a full list of locations and dates, and to help make sure there are enough trash bags and gloves to go around, people are being encouraged to call the township ahead of the cleanups at 519-669-6027.

Over in St. Jacobs, a tree planting that was planned for this Saturday at the off-leash dog park has been postponed until next week. Flooded fields and slush were the primary culprit for the delay, explained Woolwich Coun. Mark Bauman, who helped promote the event and was a strong supporter of creating the dog park.

The spruce trees will be planted along the trail ways of the park, to add more shading as well as to simply enhance the overall look of the park.

Though delayed, Bauman still encouraged people to register to take part in the activity.

“You don’t plant trees for yourself, you plant them for the next generation,” noted Bauman.

The tree planting will take place on April 28 instead, from 8:30 a.m. until noon. People interested in participating are being asked to reach out to Bauman  at 519-465-8368.

Earth Day is not just about helping the environment, but also learning to appreciate it more. To that end, the Woolwich Trails Group is making the most of the day with a series of hikes, in conjunction with some of the local public schools.

Four schools are participating in the hike this year for a total of about 1,354 hikers, says Nancy Stayzer, a member of the trails group and one of main organizers of the school hike. Stayzer, a retired educator, started the school hikes project while still a teacher at St. Jacobs PS. Later, when she joined the trails group, they started to promote the idea to more and more schools.

“I mentioned it at a staff meeting that maybe it would be really cool to get all the kids out to promote hiking and to encourage their families to do the same. It seems a shame to have great trails in the township and not use them as much as we can. So that’s how it started,” she says.

Finally, the Trees for Woolwich group will be officially opening the nursery in Elmira, preparing it for the some 2,000 young plants into the nursery with the help of some EDSS students. The snow day on Monday may have delayed plans, but the group is still always seeking volunteers to lend a hand. Those interested in helping out are always encouraged to reach out to the township to participate.

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