A group of smiling people in yellow reflective vests holding empty black garbage bags.

Rotary Club of North Muskoka members and volunteers get ready to head out for the club's annual Earth Day Cleanup in 2023. Photo by Rotary Club of North Muskoka.

It was time to take out the trash.

Rotary Club of North Muskoka members and supporters hit the roadsides on April 20, 2023, for the club's annual Earth Day litter pickup around Huntsville. The volunteers focused on the Highway 11 interchanges at Muskoka Road 3 and Highway 60 as well as a section of West Road near the highway.

I am a proud Rotarian and also proud of our community. The exits from Highway 11 into Huntsville are the first impression for many of our visitors. Keeping these exits clean gives a positive message,” says Rotarian Jim S. He said most of the items he and his team collected were drink containers: “Empty coffee cups, and over 100 beer cans,” he says. In roughly one hour, his four-person team collected about 12 bags of trash at Highway 60 and Highway 11.

Rotarian Stacey's team focused on Highway 11 and Muskoka Road 3 at the south end.

I love helping to clean up my community. It’s very satisfying and it’s one of my favourite hands on projects we do with Rotary,” says Stacey. Her three-person team collected roughly six bags of trash in about an hour.

Not only did the final results look better for people and safer for wildlife, but the community seemed grateful for the club's efforts, too.

Rotarian Andrew, whose team focused on West Road between Hanes Road and Silver Street, noted several community members expressed their gratitude during the cleanup with calls of support. “Someone leaned out of a truck and yelled, ‘Litter sucks!’, and another driver rolled down their car window to say, ‘Good job!’,” smiles Andrew. “And one person actually came out of a house and yelled, ‘Thank you!’”

The Rotary Club of North Muskoka is a nonprofit service club of like-minded community members who come together to make a difference in their community. Learn more at rotaryclubofnorthmuskoka.com.

Rotarian Andrew and his fellow club members dedicated an evening to collecting roadside litter for the community and the environment in Huntsville on April 20. Photo by Rotary Club of North Muskoka.