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Some weird finds in Earth Day cleanup of the County

Helena and Mark Litherland were among hundreds of County residents helping to clean up the County on Earth Day.

Story and photos by Sharon Harrison
Plenty of trash was bashed at Trash Bash ’23 Saturday as hundreds took on the task to help make Prince Edward County clean and beautiful again after a long winter.

Folks expressed gratitude the forecasted heavy rain held off, and despite being breezy, the sun shone down on all the helpers for most of the day before clouds moved in. However, some folks took advantage of the beautiful warm and sunny weather Friday, instead, to pick-up trash, thinking Saturday would be wet and stormy.

Organizer Evan Nash was thankful.

“I would like to thank the hundreds of participants across the county who participate. This event is enjoyed by so many volunteers and the outcome is enjoyed by all county residents,” he said. “I estimate that participation was up slightly this year mostly due to large groups like the cadets, the Lions, and the Rotary getting involved.

“The big surprise this year was how many dog poo bags were found. People are taking the time to stop and bag but then not disposing of the bags properly.”

Team County Road 13 East gets the award for the most unique item picked up…a scarecrow. – Facebook Trash Bash Group photo

As well as the many full dog poop bags, a baby stroller and a tent were among findings. Possibly the most unique find this year, was a scarecrow, appearing in relatively good condition, fully clothed with all limbs intact.

Also gathered was an assortment of miscellany garbage that shouldn’t be there, whether unintentionally carried by the wind, or an intended illegal dumping, with a variety of plastics being a common theme.

Also noted this year was some participants reported less trash than usual.

Many of the usual garbage culprits of fast food and drink containers and wrappings were high on the list of items collected, as well as empty alcohol containers, plastic wrappings and plastic bags, paper and cardboard, plastic water bottles, styrofoam and metal.

The annual community clean-up event brought out individuals, couples, clubs, groups of family, friends and neighbours to scour roadsides, ditches, playing fields, beaches, parks and more.

The municipality again declared the event to be Owen Jones Community Clean-up Day,
in honour of the late Owen Jones and his contributions to keeping the streets of the County trash-free. Jones, a familiar figure of the community, died Christmas Day 2021 at age 68.

“For many years Owen took it upon himself to work tirelessly during the spring, summer and fall to keep the curbs and gutters clear of debris,“ Mayor Steve Ferguson stated. “And in the winter months made sidewalks passable to pedestrians to enable safe access to businesses along Picton Main Street.”

Wellington residents Calem and Joanna Maclean were assisted by Margo.

Wellington residents Calem and Joanna Maclean who live on First Avenue were found picking up garbage along Niles Street, with help from Margo the dog.

Calem said they were finding mostly old newspapers.

The County was well covered in its participation as all 10 wards had folks signed up to help to pick-up trash, from Big Island to the north, to Ostrander Point Road to the south, County Road 7 at Cressy to the east, and Pleasant Bay Road to the west, and many, many points in between.

While many residential streets were bashed of their trash, other locations also included sections of the Millennium Trail, Rose Cemetery, Birdhouse City, Benson Park, Wellington beach, Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area and the Millennium Lookout.

Helena and Mark Litherland.

Local service groups also participated as the Rotary Club of Wellington spruced up Wellington beach, not just removing trash, but removing weeds and sand from the boardwalk and generally tidying up the whole beach area.


A number of Prince Edward County Lions Club members tackled both sides of the entire length of County Road 2 as it extends north of Wellington.

Picton residents Helena and Mark Litherland with the PEC Lions Club picked up numerous items along County Road 2, just north of the arena, including a paint can, water bottles, random pieces of plastic and metal, Styrofoam and cigarette butts among their stash.

Also with the Lions, Jen Ross and Gail Lynch tackled a different section of County Road 2 north of Wellington, finding lots of plastic, but also some rusty metal items.

Jen Ross and Gail Lynch spotted cleaning up at Wellington.

A large metal map too big for their carts was left roadside farther along to be collected by the municipality later, indicated Ross.

“Cleaning up garbage is a vital part of what the Lions believe in,” she added, noting how the Lions pick-up garbage around the County once a month, not just on Trash Bash day once a year.

The event also supports Quinte Trash Bash clean-ups being held in neighbouring municipalities in the Quinte area.

Anne Schmidt, and Kathy Marchen

Insulation, and lots of it, and water bottles too were part of Anne Schmidt and Kathy Marchen’s collected items, but “no bodies!”, laughed Schmidt. They also picked-up milk bags and lots of bits of metal.

Marchen noted fast food coffee cups and discarded masks weren’t so bad this year.

Schmidt’s concern was with the plastics, and especially the amount of building insulation found.

“My peeve is the animals try to eat it and it makes the animals sick,” she said, as she pondered why so much of this stuff is being found roadside in ditches.

Schmidt also spoke fondly of Owen Jones, saying he was a nice man who did a very good job and worked hard at keeping Picton clean. “He did a better job than the County,” she said. “The PEC Lions do this clean-up once a month, but we are out here today doing it for Owen,” added Schmidt.

Earth Day began in 1970 to raise awareness of environmental action and is now observed in more than 190 countries around the globe.

Earth Week events continue this week. More details below and on the County website.

Curbside goods and giveaways among County Earth Week highlights

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  1. Diane says:

    Earth Day should be everyday. And schools, parents and friends should be educating each other.

  2. Jeremy says:

    many thanks to everyone who helped to keep our community clean! There is no excuse for littering but maybe some municipal garbage cans around the County would help to elevate some of the mess?

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