Keeping Kettle Island out of hot water

Volunteers clear debris from Kettle Island (Photo by NCC)

Volunteers clear debris from Kettle Island (Photo by NCC)

December 6, 2016 | by Milaine Saumur

On a sunny Saturday morning in early fall this year, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) team prepared to meet 20 or so members of the community from the Ottawa River Valley area, who all had one thing in common: they all cared deeply about the health of natural environments.

The community members were headed to Kettle Island, Ontario, to take part in a shoreline cleanup. The third largest island in the Ottawa River, Kettle Island, with its mystical history and abundance of natural beauty, conceals a wealth of secrets for those keen to observe them.

On the Gatineau, Quebec, side of the Ottawa River, two NCC employees welcomed one group of volunteers. The participants were eager to help with the cleanup. They crossed the calm waters of the Ottawa River by canoe.

“Just this simple canoe ride makes me so happy,” said one delighted volunteer. “I feel like I’m on vacation, it’s so beautiful!”

Kettle Island, Quebec (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

Kettle Island, Quebec (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

On arriving at the island, the volunteers from Quebec and Ontario were brought together for a few welcoming words and to hear the plan for the morning. An archeologist was on hand to briefly recount the hidden history of the island, which was once an amusement park called Belle Isle Park and even had roller-coaster rides!

The volunteers spread out over the three-kilometre-wide island. Some teams travelled by boat to harder-to-reach spots along the shoreline. The boats then shuttled back and forth to pick up the trash collected.

At the end of the exercise, having carefully sorted the trash, we were able to see the results of our hard work! Nearly 771 kilograms of trash was removed from Kettle Island, of which almost 454 kilograms was scrap metal, 50 kilograms was recyclable material and just more than 317 kilograms was waste.

What a day!

Everyone went home quite proud and pleased with their good deed. A huge thank you goes out to all of the volunteers, and to our partners for the event: Ottawa Riverkeepers and the City of Gatineau.

Milaine Saumur (Photo courtesy Milaine Saumur)

About the Author

Milaine Saumur began working with the NCC team in 2012 as a conservation intern for the Outaouais region. She is now responsible for coordinating annual visits to monitor NCC properties and conservation agreements.

Read more about Milaine Saumur.

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