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South Surrey students’ park-cleanup effort well-received

Effort to take better care of Alderwood Park appreciated, says EMS neighbour
Earl Marriott Secondary students are being encouraged to pitch in to help keep neighbouring Alderwood Park clean. (File photo/EMS Twitter photo)

South Surrey high school students are giving extra attention to a local park they frequent, following resident concerns about littering in the area.

Earl Marriott Secondary vice-principal Kirsten Farquhar said Friday (March 12) that an initiative launched in late February sees classes of students set upon Alderwood Park – located adjacent to the 15751 16 Ave. school – a couple of times per week armed with garbage pickers.

Each time, they spend 30 to 45 minutes cleaning up the park and general vicinity, Farquhar said.

Farquhar said she took steps to organize the effort after hearing from a local resident in early February – shortly after her arrival at the school – who expressed disappointment about garbage being littered throughout the park by students who pass through the greenspace or hang out there during breaks in their day.

“So we decided to get on that,” she said.

“Our hope is to continue that through the remainder of the school year… just keep things nice and clean and be good neighbours.”

One Alderwood resident said he has been “really impressed” by what has transpired, including the school’s efforts on social media to spread the word.

The man – who asked to be identified only by his first name, Steve – said he has raised concerns about the litter a number of times in recent years, but pushed for action most recently after finding broken glass on the paved walkway.

Steve said the park is well-used, but that “just a small element” were responsible for the litter.

Part of the solution, he said, is educating students on how fortunate they are to have such greenspaces in their own backyard. He believes this initiative will instill in them some pride for the park.

Farquhar said feedback she has heard from teachers so far suggests that is the case.

“In talking to their teachers, they have noticed that there’s some camaraderie that is taking place out there and that the conversations that (the students) are having even relate to core competencies in our new curriculum about social responsibility, and that it actually feels good to pitch in,” Farquhar said.

“A teacher was really heartened with what he saw with his class that day, just collaborating together and helping each other to make sure they got everything… and were pumped up about it.”

Farquhar said while no cleanups are planned over the next two weeks due to spring break, she expects the initiative is one that will continue beyond the current school year.
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Tracy Holmes

About the Author: Tracy Holmes

Tracy Holmes has been a reporter with Peace Arch News since 1997.
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