Collecting trash made kayaking on McLeese Lake all the more enjoyable for a mother and daughter.
Mandie Petronio’s mom, Jessie Burry, from Edmonton, Alta, was able to come down earlier this month for a visit as COVID-19 restrictions eased. The duo spent their time kayaking and picking up trash as they travelled around the area.
Petronio knew kayaking would be a perfect time with Burry, who loves the outdoors and birdwatching.
“We all do what we can, and it only takes a couple of minutes,” Petronio said.
“And it adds fun to the trip because I know my mom and I when we went kayaking we laughed so hard at some of the stuff we found.”
Petronio credits Burry as a strong example of taking care of the land and doing our part.
Before working as a maternity nurse in Edmonton, Burry lived in Fort St. John, B.C., where Petronio said she started the community’s first recycling program, setting up bins and dispersing the collected materials to where they needed to go to be recycled.
Petronio and her husband recently moved to McLeese Lake from Williams Lake and regularly walk to the lake to go swimming and pick up trash along the way.
“Then we noticed someone had made a [Facebook] post about the garbage bins overfilling, so we kind of try to keep an eye on that, and if it needs to be emptied, then we’ll empty it and take it back to our place and go through it.”
Recyclables are recycled, and drink bottles or cans are set aside.
After putting the call out on social media for McLeese Lake organizations that could benefit from the bottles, community members had suggested the McLeese Lake Volunteer Fire Department.
“We have only about ten dollars right now,” Petronio said with a laugh.
“But the idea is just to keep doing what we’re doing, and once we get a full bag, then we can take it to whoever is in need.”
Petronio said she had raised their now-adult children on a hobby farm on Fox Mountain, where they further learned the importance of the land, self-sustainability, and rewards from nature, such as making rose tip tea.
“Hopefully, our children are learning from us, so carrying those generations of positivity through.”