Between rain showers today Sam and I took some time to go for a bike ride to the park. She is loving her new bike and starting to really get the hang of it.
Ride there and park play time were pretty uneventful. Just good outdoor play time for both of us.
But the park that we went to has a small pond near by that we decided we needed to walk around. Sam noticed that it was very "dirty". A lot of litter was in and around the water. She asked how it had gotten there and who would clean it up. At which point I made the decision that WE would clean it up. So Sam and I spent about an hour today with a big trash bag (also a piece of liter; rather convenient actually!) picking up all the liter that we could find. She loved finding long sticks for me when the liter was in the water and we couldn't reach it.
I grabbed a plastic bag that had been fully submerged out of the water and threw it up onto the ground behind me. Sam yelled, "MOM the bag is moving!". I looked back and sure enough there was the slightest little movement inside the bag. I reached in and pulled out a small fish about the size of my palm! She was so excited to help me let it go and watch it swim away.
After that the determination on Sam's little face to get every last piece of trash out of the water and check it for trapped animals was pretty incredible. We didn't find anything else.
But we did find LOTS of plastic bags, soda bottle and cans, three tennis balls, a flat soccer ball and many food wrappers of varying kinds. We filled up a pretty big trash bag until I could not close it. Our fingers were starting to get pretty cold so I said it was time to quit and go home.
We only got half way around the small pond.
I have no idea why the pond was so filled with trash. I guess stuff gets blown from the busy street nearby and collects in the ice/snow over the winter. I don't remember ever seeing it this "dirty" before. But I was so proud of Sam for helping me to clean it up. I am sure this is something she will remember and be asking me to do with her again. Plus she has already said we need to go back to the pond with her net!
The Nitty Gritty!
This was such a great greening moment for us. A true life lesson about helping to protect the things that we enjoy and love, and about giving back to our community and nature.
Have you ever been for a liter walk? Just take a plastic bag (or several) with you the next time you go on a walk around your neighborhood and have your kiddos help you pick up liter as you walk. It always surprises me that when I am actually looking for it there is a lot there. Somehow my eyes don't seem to see it most of the time. It is a great way to teach your kids why we don't liter and that it doesn't just disappear. I also find that doing things like this also helps to make conversations about why liter is bad, why pollution is bad and how we can help come very naturally; they don't need to be forced or read out of a book this way.
Sorry no pictures today. The occasional rain we were having made me very nervous to bring the camera along.