Wiikwemkoong students tackle Smith Bay Creek cleanup

There must be a kitchen sink in there somewhere. Bicycles, scooters and plenty of random bits of metal piled up fast and furious. photos by Michael Erskine

WIIKWEMKOONG—Grade 7 and 8 students were joined by members of the Wiikwemkoong High School student council and environmental geography in an Earth Day mission to clean up Smith Bay Creek, which runs through the village.

The cleanup effort was spearheaded by members of Manitoulin Streams and the Wiikwemkoong Lands department. Manitoulin Streams’ program manager Seija Deschenes explained the plan of action to the students and community volunteers who turned out for the event. Following some basic safety instruction and an admonition to call an adult should any of the students encounter sharps such as glass or needles, a number of hip waders were handed out to some of the more adventurous students.

“They are doing an amazing job,” said Ms. Deschenes as she paused to observe the work underway along the paths to the stream and in the stream itself.

Members of Manitoulin Streams distributed hip waders and rubber boots to students who were not well equipped for the cleanup.

In a mere handful of minutes, the students demonstrated the truth of the old adage many hands make light work, as a once litter-strewn path was rendered pristine.

Smith Bay Creek itself surrendered a wide range of items, including a small bicycle, a scooter, a fire extinguisher and even a GI Joe action figure, along with the usual detritus of plastic bags, bottles and tin cans.

What wasn’t present during the endeavour was any hint of griping from the students taking part, as they set to with determination and good humour despite the misty weather and early spring chill.

This GI Joe action figure was recovered from the depths of Smith Bay Creek.

For the adults taking part there was plenty of reminiscent as they shared stories of the creek in their childhoods.