Images submitted by Jane Weiss

Ever wondered how much garbage can fit into a 20-foot voyageur canoe?

Adam Weiss, a student in Capilano University’s Outdoor Recreation Management (OREC) program can tell you—around 200 kilos.

Over the Easter long weekend, Adam and three of his colleagues from the OREC program took two Montreal-style voyageur canoes into the Burrard Inlet from Cates Park, paddling across the Inlet to pick up garbage on south side beaches accessible only from the water.

The event, which the group called “Paddle Forward,” was their final project in the Organizational Leadership course in which students must demonstrate leadership initiative and promote positive change. Since Adam and group member Cole TeWhiu are both guiding and instructing for Ridge Wilderness Adventures as their practicum component for OREC program, they combined their big canoe skills with a desire to “pay it forward” for the environment.

Joined by project members Jill Salter and Michelle Pittam, as well as members of Adam’s family, the group hit two beaches, filling their canoe much earlier than anticipated with old tires, rope, Styrofoam, plastic and a giant pizza sign for $5.99 pizza.

The group was surprised by the poor condition of the beaches, says Adam, and the “sheer amount of waste that goes unnoticed” in these hard-to-access places. Some waste was so established in the environment that it had become habitat, according to Adam’s sister, who is studying marine biology.

“We took out the big, gross tire though,” says Adam.

The most surprising find? The body of a coyote trapped in a giant net, wedged under large logs. The group was unable to remove the net and the carcass, however.

“Hopefully an eagle could come along and profit off the situation,” Adam says.

Submitted by Marketing & Communications

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