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Mother Of All Clean Ups Returns To Christchurch

Mother Of All Clean Ups Returns To Christchurch Waterways This Winter With Renewed Energy And A Focus On City-wide Inclusion. The Event Is Held Annually On The First Saturday Of May And Attracts Hundreds Of Volunteers From More Than 40 Local Organisations Who Come Together To Remove Tonnes Of Rubbish From Christchurch’s Urban Waterways.

Estuary Trust Manager Tanya Jenkins Says That The Co-ordinating Team Is Keen To Engage Even More Of Ōtautahi This Year After COVID-19 Prevented The Event From Being Held In 2020 “We Had To Put Everything On Hold Last Year In Order To Keep Everyone Safe,” Tanya Says, “but We Learned A Lot By Holding Our First Ever Virtual Clean Up Instead. And We’re Eager To Continue Providing New Opportunities For Christchurch Residents To Get Involved, Which Is Why This Year’s Theme Is Cleaner Waterways, Your Way.” The Team Is Also Excited To Announce The Formalised Involvement Of Councillor Sara Templeton This Year. Sara, Who Has Attended The Clean Ups Since They Started, Is A Strong Supporter Of The Event. “It’s A Highlight In The Environmental Calendar For Ōtautahi. The Coordination Of A Wide Range Of Community Groups And Individuals To Clean Up Our Waterways Is A Huge Effort And Is Appreciated By All.”

Mother Of All Clean Ups: Home Edition, Which Launched Mid-lockdown In 2020 And Received More Than 200 Entries, Will Feature Again This Year. The Brainchild Of Tireless River Advocate, The Late Evan Smith, This Virtual Competition Gives Residents And Families The Opportunity To Learn And Contribute From The Comfort Of Home. Since The Water Community Lost Evan Last Year, Avon-Ōtākaro Network’s Hayley Guglietta Has Taken Evan’s Seat On The Co-ordinating Team And Is Helping To Keep This Initiative Alive. “The Team Learned So Much From Last Year’s Virtual Event And We’re Really Excited To Be Fine-tuning It For An Even Better Home Edition In 2021,” She Says. “This Virtual Edition Is Really Fun And Easy, But It Also Provides Crucial Data That Helps Us Focus Our Work For The Year Ahead.”

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For Residents Who Want To Do Something Tangible But Are Not Able To Volunteer With One Of The Event’s Existing Community Groups On The Day, Ōpāwaho-Heathcote River Network’s Dr Helene Mautner Is Championing The HIGH FIVE Campaign Which Encourages Residents To Help Clean Up Their Own Little Patch Of The City. “HIGH FIVE Was Something We Brainstormed Last Year And We Think Could Really Grow. The Concept Is Simple – We’re Challenging Christchurch Residents To Pick Up Five Pieces Of Rubbish Anywhere They Find Them In Their Local Area. This Prevents That Rubbish From Eventually Ending Up In Our Stormwater. If Every Household Did This, Think Of How Much Less Rubbish We’d Have To Collect Next Year!” Participants In HIGH FIVE Are Encouraged To Post A Photograph Of Any Rubbish They Collect On Social Media Using The Hashtag #highfivenz.

While The Total Waste Collected Has Trended Downward Impressively Since Mother Of All Clean Ups Was Launched In 2015, The Amount Of Rubbish In Christchurch Waterways Remains An Ongoing Issue. Hamish Fairbairn Of Conservation Volunteers NZ Says That The Common Offenders Of Chip Packets And Plastic Bottles Are Joined Every Year By Larger Items Including Shopping Trolleys And Discarded Tyres. In The Last Live Event In 2019, About 3.6 Tonnes Of Rubbish Was Collected From Christchurch’s Rivers And The Avon-Heathcote Estuary.

This Has Encouraged The Team To Branch Out Even Further This Year With A Brand New Mother Of All Clean Ups: Schools Edition. This Schools-led Clean Up, Operation River Quest, Will Take Place On Thursday 6th May Prior To The Main Mother Of All Clean Ups Event With Sponsors, Citycare, Arranging For Extra Rubbish Collections To Accommodate Local Schools And Tally The Additional Waste. Schools Will Be Collecting Data About The Rubbish Collected To Inform Meaningful Actions For Their Local Communities.

Kirsty Brennan, Environmental Scientist At EOS Ecology, And Nigel Marsh From Ilam School Have Joined The Co-ordinating Team To Lead This New Chapter Of The Event. “We Already Work Closely With Schools All Over The City,” Kirsty Says, “so This Is Just A Natural Extension Of That Work Which We’re Excited To Do In Combination With Various Organisations Including Enviroschools. With Thanks To A Sustainability Funding Grant From The Christchurch City Council, Up To 20 Schools Will Receive A River Clean-up Resource Kit For This And Future Events.” Nigel Adds That “the Only Way To Make Sustainable Change In Our Natural Environment Is Through Our Young People; Getting Them To Break The Cycle Of Throwaway Culture And Make Conscious Choices About How They Interact With The Natural World.”

“The Home Edition Was Such A Wonderful Way For Us To Adapt Last Year,” Says Fellow Co-ordinator Bex De Prospo, Director Of Authentic Storytelling And Project Manager For Drinkable Rivers. “This Made Us All Think About How We Could Expand Even Further And Really Start To Get The Christchurch Community To Take Ownership Of Its Waterways. With That Virtual Event Kicking Off Again In 2021 And Joined By The HIGH FIVE Campaign And The Operation River Quest Event For Schools, We Really Are Extending A Challenge To All Of Ōtautahi To Find A Way To Contribute To Cleaner Waterways, Your Way.”

Mother Of All Clean Ups Is Held On The Morning Of Saturday The 8th Of May And Concludes With A Celebration At Cassels Brewery, Courtesy Of Long-time Organiser Zac Cassels. Anyone Keen To Participate Is Encouraged To Contact Their Local School Or Community Group About Volunteering, Join The HIGH FIVE Campaign To Collect Some Rubbish In Their Own Back Yard Or Join The Mother Of All Clean Ups: Home Edition To Compete For Some Fantastic Prizes.

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