Canoe Clean-Up

What does your ideal Saturday morning look like? Homemade waffles in the kitchen? Cartoons on TV? Your warm bed until it's not morning anymore?

Mine looks like this:

Unloading canoes at a wildlife refuge near Wallula Gap.

Paddling canoes.
Picking cigarette butts out of river banks.
Eating tupperware lunches surreptitiously packed from the dining hall.
Sinking into mud.
Unwinding fishing line from bushes.
Rinsing mud out of old beer cans with river water.
Watching American white pelicans soar in fighter-jet formation.
Walking through knee-high water in hiking boots.
Startling great blue herons from their fishing spots.

And packing thirteen huge bags of trash and recycling (plus one enormous truck tire) into our trailer at the end of the day!

We removed thirteen huge bags of trash and recycling from the river.

Canoe Clean-Up is a Whitman Outdoor Program trip which packs out heaps of trash from a wildlife refuge near Wallula Gap, Washington every semester.

The most common items I found were plastic bottles, beer cans, cigarette butts, fishing line, bait containers, and candy wrappers.

We also saw lots of wildlife including schools of fry (juvenile fish), large black beetles, green spiders, blue dragonflies, mating damselflies, a croaking frog, great blue herons, northern flickers, black-billed magpies, a red-tailed hawk, a clear-breasted sparrow, great egrets, American white pelicans, and gulls with black wing-tips (probably California?)

The Canoe Clean-Up Crew in front of the river...

... and the boats.

Hopefully one day we'll be able to canoe without finding a single piece of trash to collect. Until then, we'll keep coming back!