2017 Earth Day Beach Cleanup and Presentations

Earth Day was first proposed in 1969 by peace activist John McConnell, who suggested a day of worldwide recognition of the damage being done to the environment and the responsibility of humans to care for the Earth.  The idea was taken up by American Senator Gaylord Nelson after seeing the devastation caused by the 1969 oil spill in California. Earth Day was first celebrated in the United States on April 22, 1970, with the goal of educating people about the environment.  It is often credited as being the catalyst for the modern environmental movement.  Today, Earth Day is observed in 192 countries around the world by over a billion people, who celebrate by holding rallies, providing educational activities, and engaging in environmental service or restoration work.

Saturday, April 22 this year will be the 47th anniversary of Earth Day and all are invited to join with PICA in celebrating with two events, both aimed at celebrating the Salish Sea: the annual Beach Clean Up in the morning, and free presentations on our Salish Sea in the afternoon.

Help keep our island beaches clean and beautiful by joining us for the Beach Clean Up, which will be held at the parking lot of the Medicine Beach Centre from 9:30 to noon.  You can check in before you begin (and pick up the provided bags and gloves and a suggested beach to clean) or when you come to drop off collected garbage after cleaning your beach.

There will be food and coffee provided by Slow Coast Cafe, as well as children’s activities, music, draws, and prizes for the biggest and most unusual items collected.  If you find something that is too big for you to bring in, let us know at the check-in site and we'll arrange to have someone go and pick it up. For those of you who would like to go out on kayaks to help clean some of the difficult to reach places, Kye from Dog Mermaid Ecotours, will have kayaks ready on Medicine Beach in Bedwell Harbour. If you wish to go out with Kye, please meet at Medicine Beach at 9:30.  Jay from Pender Island Kayak Adventures will be at Browning Harbour; please meet him at Hamilton Beach.  Call Elizabeth if you would like to do the kayak clean-up, so that we will have an idea of the numbers.

We are fortunate to have three great presentations lined up for the afternoon at the Anglican Parish Hall from 1 to 3:30 pm. 

Leanna Boyer from the SeaChange Marine Conservation Society will come from Salt Spring Island to talk about nearshore ecology with a focus on Bull Kelp.  Last year Pender volunteers assisted with a SeaChange/University of Victoria collaborative study by mapping bull kelp by kayak.  Leanna will present the results of this study and discuss how long term bull kelp monitoring can be supported on Pender.  If you can’t make the presentation, Leanna will be stationed at the SeaChange informational display.

Jenna Falk from the Galiano Conservancy Association will join us to speak about the Rockfish Conservation Project and Galiano's experience working to protect these species at risk with some amazing partners, volunteers and community members since 2012. Learn more about how you can get involved, try on a one-of-a-kind rockfish hat and take home some free materials about rockfish and marine conservation in the Strait of Georgia.

Pender’s own David Manning will wrap-up the afternoon with a slideshow of Wildlife of the Salish Sea Islands. 

Enjoy some tasty treats & Moonbeans coffee, and visit the several informational displays. All are welcome, and there is no charge.  We hope to have some children’s activities arranged for the afternoon, and if you wish to volunteer to help with this it would be most appreciated. 

Please contact Trinette Prior at 250 629 2213 or Elizabeth Miles at 250 539 8843 or elizabethmiles999@gmail.com, for more information about either of these events.

Elizabeth Miles

Eighth Annual Beach Clean-up and Earth Day Report

Earth Day landed on a Saturday this year, so in addition to the annual Beach Clean-up, PICA hosted a larger celebration with the theme being Celebrating the Salish Sea.  We had food, music and more prizes than ever for the volunteers at the Beach Clean-up.  In the afternoon, three speakers gave presentations at the Anglican Parish hall  on  the Salish Sea.

Beach Clean Up

We had excellent volunteer turn-out again this year, and we covered most of the island beaches.  The food, prizes and music were well received by the volunteers.  We collected a lot less garbage than in previous years, which perhaps would be a good sign, except that a significant amount of the garbage was foam plastic (eg: Styrofoam) which has a very negative impact on the animals in beach ecosystems. 

Amount of Garbage Collected

One construction bin was filled with beach debris, 260 kg of garbage and 35 kg of recyclable metal, for a total of  295 kg.  This compares to 670kg for 2014, 760kg in 2015, and 1,230kg last year.  Three bags of recyclables were also taken to the Pender Island Recycling Depot.

Beaches Cleaned

The Pender Island Parks and Recreation Commission’s ‘Community Trail Guide’ was used to identify the clean-up areas.  Volunteer ‘Sign-in’ reports, together with prize ticket counts, were used to calculate our data for this year’s Clean-up. Our analysis follows:

Ocean Accesses – 30 of 32 received a total of 34 reports

Marine Parks – 2 of 2 were accessed by boat

Beach Parks – 3 of 3 received a total of 19 reports – We Love our Parks!

Lakes, Trails and Roads were accounted for by 6 reports 

Private beaches received 7 reports

Kayakers – 3 groups reported a total of 8 kayakers

We cleaned the shorelines and covered all except for 2 accessible beaches. These beaches may have been cleaned and just not reported.  In all we had 69 reports by volunteer teams. 

Also, some groups cleaned along the roads and shores of lakes.


We had an excellent volunteer turn out: an estimated142 volunteers helped clean beaches this year, compared to 132 last year, 63 in 2015 and 114 in 2014.  111 adults and 31 children reported to the ‘Drop Zone’.  102 prize tickets were issued to 65 adults and 37 children. 17 prizes were awarded, 10 for the children and 7 for adults.  We were not able to include everyone in the count, since many of the groups sent just one person down to the drop off site to deliver the garbage collected by their group. 

Based on an estimated Islands population of 2,222, this means that approximately 6% of our residents came out to participate.  We Rock!

An estimated 100 volunteers enjoyed the tasty food and coffee provided by Slow Coast Café.  We received many appreciative comments from those who had the lunch.

Many people registered as individuals and many were also part of groups that act as stewards for certain beaches all year long, for example:

The Pender Island Field Naturalists (Hamilton Beach)

The Pender Island Power and Sail Squadron (Shingle Bay and Irene Bay)

The Salish Sea RCMS&R (Camp Bay and Beaumont Marine Park)

Pender Island Parks and Recreation Commission (Otter Bay, Roesland and Niagara Road)

The Pender Island Yacht Club (Thieves Bay)

Pender Island Conservancy Association (PICA) members (Medicine Beach)

Pender Pacers (roads and Buck Lake)

Pender Island Walking Group (roads)

 Ilsley family (William Walker Road OA)

A group of families and friends (organized by Lisa Fleming) did beaches in the Port Wash area (Grimmer Bay, Bridges Rd and Percival Cove)

There are many other families and individuals who clean the beaches that they visit all year long.  We thank them for their ongoing stewardship.

Local Support

We received a great deal of support from local businesses and organizations. 

PICA is grateful to the Pender Islands Trust Protection Society who donated funds for volunteer appreciation, most of which was spent on the lunch, and to Slow Coast Cafe for providing lunch at a discount. We also appreciate the help and support of the Medicine Beach Liquor store.

The CRD provided a grant to cover the fees for the garbage removal which came to$228.11. Pender Island Waste Management hauled the garbage off-island.  The Recycling depot provided containers for the recyclables that were collected.

Dog Mermaid Eco Excursions and Pender Island Kayak Adventures volunteered to help by providing kayaks and organizing kayakers to go out on the water to collect debris from hard-to-reach places.

The poster was designed by Clayton Meadows Design.

Pender Island Parks and Recreation donated two of their Pender Islands Community Trail Guides as prizes.

Many thanks to the following local business, who donated prizes

Dog Mermaid Eco Excursions (Grand Prize)

The Button Lady 

Jo’s Place

The Café at Large

Penderosa Pizza

The Pender Island Pharmacy

Talisman Books

Vanilla Leaf Cafe

Philly’s Diner


2017 Beach Clean-Up was organized by Elizabeth Miles and Trinette Prior, and supported by Rhondda Porter.  This is our third year of organizing the event:

We called all the people who signed up last year ahead of time to ask them if they would participate again this year, and contacted others to ask for commitment to clean unassigned beaches.

We made up an e-mail list of those who put emails as contact information, and sent out a bulk email to announce the event.

We approached local businesses to donate prizes.

Set up (and removed) a display in the window at the Centre. 

Arranged for an ad to be designed and placed in the Pender Post.

Wrote an article for Pender Post announcing and giving details for the event.

Arranged for a poster to be designed, printed the poster, and posted copies in various bulletin boards and businesses around the Island,

Posted announcements on the Pender Online Market and Pender Online Forum, as well as on the PICA website.

An announcement was placed in the Pender Island school newsletter,

Arranged for garbage bins to be delivered and picked up, 

Arranged for food for the volunteers, hired musicians , and arranged and for funding to pay for the catering and music 

Asked the businesses at the drop off point for permission to use the parking lot for the event. 

Trinette maintains an Excel file with names of all participants, contact numbers, and beaches they have cleaned. 

She also adapted poster sized shoreline maps of both Penders, with every beach and beach access number marked to match volunteers or groups signed up to clean them.

Arranged for volunteers to help people sign in, serve the food, sort the garbage and load it into the bins, and to go pick up larger items of garbage to be picked up in trucks.

We also brought down and set up tables, maps, tents, prizes, dishes, etc. on the beach clean-up day, served the food, and cleaned up afterward.  We bought (and washed) dishes and cloth napkins from the Nu-to-Yu, so there would be no garbage created for the food service. The dishes and napkins will be stored for use again next year.

Greeted and signed-in people, assigning drop-ins to unclaimed beaches.


Of course, the ‘Beach Clean Up’ (event) could not take place without the help of many, many volunteers. Your participation is very much appreciated and since there are too many to name individually, we list some notables:

Rhondda Porter, who stored all the display materials, applied for funding from the CRD for the garbage collection costs, and helped set up booths.

Bob Simons, for bringing and setting up the booth tent, dishes, etc. and helping with greeting volunteers and receiving/organizing the garbage, and later for he clean up.  

Willow Alpen, who helped to set up on the beach clean-up morning and to greet and register beachcombers.

Catherine Wilson and Clayton Meadows, who designed and created our posters and ads. They also participated in the clean up.

Neil Wilton, who helped set up and take down booths on clean-up day, and drove around the island picking up collected garbage. 

Jill Ilsley, for helping to serve food and clean up afterward.

Kye Nahanni (DogMermaid), for providing kayaks so volunteers could pick up from hard to reach spots in Bedwell Harbour.

Jay Raichura (PIKayaks), for providing kayaks and recruiting volunteers to clean shores in Browning Harbour that are inaccessible by land.

Bruce and Ben McConchie, who have taken on the role of picking up large pieces of Styrofoam that wash up on our beaches all year long.

Lisa Fleming, who organized a group of families to go out together and clean up three beaches in the Port Wash area.

Davy Rippner, who arranged for the recycling bins, helped sort and load garbage, and acted as photographer for the event.

Jenna Falk, who came over from Galiano Island to present in the afternoon and helped set up at the clean-up site, served food, and went out with the kayaks to collect garbage.  A real example of inter-island support!

Leanna Boyer, also an afternoon presenter from Salt Spring Island, was out on the shore collecting garbage in the morning.

We also wish to thank the musicians Patrick Smith and Tom Dodge, who entertained the troops while lunch was served.

There are many unsung heroes who worked very hard to help clean up our island.  For example; they collected and stored garbage from beaches all year; organized their groups to clean a beach; helped sort and put the garbage in the bins; etc.   Not knowing who they all are, we take this opportunity to thank them with sincerity.

Salish Sea Presentations

The Salish Sea presentations were held in the afternoon at the Parish Church Hall. Help from the members of Pender Ocean Defenders (POD) and others to ready the Hall for our guest speakers is most appreciated.  These guest speakers delivered on three different aspects of the Salish Sea:

Leanna Boyer, of Salt Spring Island, presented on Kelp and the bull kelp monitoring project.  Leanna works as a Marine Biologist and stewardship coordinator with SeaChange Marine Conservation Society and is Co-Chair of the Seagrass Conservation Working Group.

Jenna Falk, of Galiano Island, has a Masters degree in Environmental Studies from UVic and is the Development Coordinator with the Galiano Island Conservancy (GICA).  Jenna talked to us about Rockfish and the work that GICA is doing to help promote protection of Rockfish Conservation Areas.

David Manning, a local naturalist, photographer and writer led a beautiful and informative presentation on the Wildlife of the Salish Sea Islands. Dave ended with a promise of ‘more(other stuff)-to-come’! Check your fall schedules.

We are most grateful to all of our speakers for the gifts of their time, their eye, their humour, and for sharing their expertise.  

Island groups which set up information display tables

Galiano Island Conservancy
Pender Ocean Defenders
Pender Islands Park and Recreation
Parks Canada
Pender Islands Conservancy

And a local student, Lauren Green presented her project about micro-beads. A submission which won an award at the Victoria and area school Science Fair.

Coffee was provided by our local roaster, Moonbeans Coffee and home baked treats were provided by Catherine Hughes, Trinette Prior, Elizabeth Miles, and Patti Badcock.

Approximately 6% of Penders’ population was out beach-cleaning in the morning. 

There were approximately 50 attendees in the afternoon. Several were young people and some were new.   Still, about 3% of the population attending is great.  Positive feedback about the event was offered by the Groups, the Presenters and the Attendees.  There were also some expected mumblings (difficulty hearing, that’s me, Trinette) about the audio. 

Congratulations to  Eroca Dancer-Manning, who won the ‘POD’ T-Shirt Door Prize and to Lauren O, for winning the jelly beans. Lauren’s guess of 102 was closest to the actual count of 111.  Were you wondering? 

We wish to thank the PICA board members  and POD members for helping to set up and cleanup afterward, especially Eleanor Brownlee, and Patti Badcock. We are also grateful to the Sunday afternoon Slow Coast Jam Group for helping to set up the tables and chairs and to Trinette  for staying behind to wash dishes. We appreciate the Anglican Parish for the use of their hall.  Also, thanks to Robert Ilsley who helped in a variety of ways.  A special thanks to Davy Rippner and Dave Manning (afternoon presenter) for all they did to make sure that the audio/visuals worked the best they could for that day!

Report prepared by Elizabeth Miles and Trinette Prior

Adopt-a-Beach & Annual Earth Day
 Beach Cleanup Links

Earth Day Beach Cleanup photos - April 24, 2011
Earth Day Beach Cleanup photos - April 21, 2012
Earth Day Beach Cleanup photos - April 20, 2013
Earth Day Beach Cleanup photos - April 25, 2015
Earth Day Beach Cleanup photos - April 23, 2016
Earth Day Beach Cleanup &  presentations photos - April 22, 2017
Information about the day

Next Fall Fair Report

Photos by Davy Rippner 2011 Earth Day