DETROIT (WXYZ) — The Detroit River Coalition, a group of environmental organizations located on both the U.S. and Canadian sides of the Detroit River, invites community members to a week-long celebration and cleanup of the river and its shores. From April 17 to April 24, individuals and groups are encouraged to team up, clean up and win prizes, including a brand-new Shinola bike.
The coalition's Earth Week activities include a photo contest, an original art contest, educational seminars, interactive online Bingo, individual cleanups and group cleanups on the U.S. side. Because of differing health codes and safety restrictions, there will be no public cleanups on the Canadian side of the Detroit River. The Detroit River Coalition is made up of the following groups: Belle Isle Conservancy; Detroit River Canadian Cleanup; Detroit Riverfront Conservancy; Essex Region Conservation Authority; Friends of the Detroit River; Friends of the Rouge; Green Living Science; and Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Plastic in the Great Lakes waterways is a growing phenomenon. It's estimated that more than 22 million pounds end up in the Great Lakes every year and it never goes away - there is no "away." Single-use plastic breaks up into smaller pieces known as microplastics that have incredibly harmful effects on the environment and aquatic life. Says Genevieve Nowak, Director of Environmental Initiatives and Affairs at the Belle Isle Conservancy, "Together, we can remove littered pollution at the source and prevent it from flowing through our local waterways, though the Great Lakes and into the world's oceans, where it is significantly more difficult to retrieve. Earth Week this year along the Detroit River will be a great opportunity for people to 'nurture nature', safely enjoy the outdoors and make a huge impact."
General Motors donated funds for the event, as well as personal protection equipment, including masks, to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all participants.
The Earth Week initiative is made possible in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Trash Free Waters grant. The grant was awarded to the Belle Isle Conservancy and is supporting the work of the Detroit River Coalition.
Detroit River Coalition Earth Week Events:
March 22 to April 22: Photo and art contests for youth and adults. Artists and photographers can submit original artwork featuring the Detroit River to win prizes in youth and adult categories. More information at detroitrivercoalition.com/artcontest.
April 15, 10:00 a.m.: Virtual Earth Week Kickoff. Join a Facebook Live, learn about all the Earth Week activities planned, and meet the teams from the participating organizations. A short Q and A will follow the official presentations.
April 17 to April 24: Choose your own cleanup and enter to win! Individuals and groups can choose a day and choose a location along the Iron Belle Trail from Belle Isle to Lake Erie Metropark. Dumpsters and trash collection points will be located in seven parks and stations throughout the area. Those who clean up a section on the American side can also fill out a form and submit it for a chance to win a Detroit Arrow bike from Shinola.
April 19, 6:30 p.m.: Binational Detroit River Bingo. The Detroit River Coalition is hosting virtual Detroit River Binational Bingo. Test your skills to see how much you know about the river during this interactive game. Questions are family friendly, all ages welcome. Once registered, the coalition will email participants the bingo cards.
April 20, 1:00 p.m.: Habitat Restoration in the U.S. and Canada virtual presentation. Hear from Detroit River Canadian Cleanup and the Friends of Detroit River about some of the current habitat restoration projects taking place.
April 24, Times Vary: Group Cleanup. Join up for a safely distanced group cleanup at six locations across southeast Michigan, including the Dequindre Cut, Belle Isle, Milliken State Park and Dingell Park in Ecorse. In order to follow Canadian public health guidelines, there will be no group cleanups on the Canadian side of the river.
All events will be safely distanced and will adhere to the Michigan Health Department’s guidelines. Participants should wear masks when members outside of their personal household are nearby.
More information about the Earth Week events and full contest details can be found at DetroitRiverCoalition.com