The dedicated site coordinators of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup
By Ryley Murray
This year the Shoreline Cleanup will take place from September 17 – 25. In the weeks leading up to the cleanups, we’ll be profiling some of our dedicated site coordinators, just to give you a taste of the type of person you can expect to meet on shorelines near you in the fall.
Gillian Dawe-Taylor is a principal at Ecole St. Joseph in Yellowknife, North West Territories and has been coordinating cleanups there for the last three years.
“They would come after me if I stopped now,” laughs Gillian, referring to the 100 students who look forward to the event every year.
“Part of our mission as a school is to instill a sense of stewardship in the students. We want them to understand how they’re involved in the environment.” Under Gillian’s leadership, this school has lived up to this mission in a number of ways.
(c) Ken Mak/WWF-Canada
Ecole St. Joseph was recently part of another WWF and Loblaw initiative, and won a Green CommUnity School Grant to help fund a green house. “The students will learn the process of building a greenhouse to suit our northern environment,” says Gillian, “and about what plants, especially edible ones, grow best in our climate.”
With one daughter starting a degree in biology and conservation at the University of Alberta next year and the other just turning old enough to participate in the cleanup this year (she’s eight), it’s clear that Gillian’s instilling a sense of environmental stewardship at home as well as at her job.
As we close our conversation, Gillian shares a personal anecdote with me about her younger daughter, who also attends Ecole St. joseph. “The other day at recess my daughter came up to me with some litter in her hand and said, ‘Look mom, I’m cleaning up the playground and nobody even asked me to!’” Looks like she’s ready to take on the shoreline next!