Green Deer


Green Deer encourages residents of all ages, abilities, and economic and cultural backgrounds to pick up litter and “leave it better than they found it!” Participating in Green Deer is an effective way to have a positive environmental impact and strengthen community bonds.

Several different initiatives work together to keep our city looking its best:

For more information on any part of the Green Deer program, please email reddeergreendeer(at)gmail.com.

Green Deer Spring Cleanup Campaign

Planned 2021 Dates: March 21 – May 31

You can do your part to help keep our city clean and healthy by registering for Green Deer and picking up litter in your backyard, around your neighbourhood, or in a favourite green space.

Registration is free, fast, and easy. Everyone is encouraged to register so Green Deer organizers can distribute cleaning supplies, track the areas that have been cleaned, and recognize volunteer work. Please register even if you don’t require any cleaning supplies or if you already completed a litter cleanup earlier this spring.

Green Deer is made possible through partnerships with Save-On-Foods, Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire Red Deer South, Real Country 95.5 & Zed 98.9, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, and The City of Red Deer.

What's in it for me?

Participating in Green Deer is a great way to build social connections and give back to your community—not to mention both the physical and mental benefits of spending time outside!

Parents and teachers can use Green Deer as an opportunity to show children and teens that we are all responsible for our own actions, to foster a mindset of environmental stewardship, and to teach the safe handling and disposal of different types of waste.

Of course, when picking up litter at any time of year, be sure to check out the safety information below, and follow the latest recommendations set out by government and public health officials regarding COVID-19.

How to Register?

Registration is free, fast, and easy. Registration for the spring 2020 Green Deer campaign is now closed. Online registration for the 2021 campaign will be available on this website during the campaign dates.

No contribution is too big or too small

If you’re looking for new ways to participate in Green Deer that don’t require a considerable time commitment or planned large-scale cleanups, consider trying one of the following:

  • Pick up a single piece of litter every day for a month.
  • Once a week, bring a bag and gloves to pick up litter when you walk your dog or go for a run. Did you know that picking up litter while jogging is called plogging? Plogging is a great way to incorporate squats into your cardio workout!
  • Purposefully commit to pick up every piece of litter the wind blows onto your property all year long.
  • Light up social media with your #trashtag.
  • Issue a challenge to a friend...or rival. Use our challenge toolkit to get creative and set the stage for some friendly rivalry.
Challenge Toolkit

Safety Information

When preparing for your Green Deer cleanup, make sure you are dressed appropriately for the weather and the task. Wear gloves and close-toed shoes, and use a grabbing device or trash picker for hard-to-reach items. Take the time to review the following safety information on rough sleeper camps, needles, and ticks and Lyme disease prior to your Green Deer cleanup.

Rough Sleeper Camps
If you find a rough sleeper (homeless) camp while participating in Green Deer, do not dismantle it under any circumstances. Instead, please call the RCMP complaint line at 403-343-5575. More information can be found on The City of Red Deer’s website.

Needles
Never reach blindly into bushes or tall grasses to pick up litter. Always ensure you can see the entire piece of litter before picking it up. In addition to other dangerous items, such as broken glass, there is the possibility of finding discarded needles. If you find a needle, please refer to Red Deer’s Needle Disposal Guide. Never place needles in a plastic bag or garbage can as this puts other people at risk, especially staff responsible for picking up and changing garbage cans throughout the city.

There is growing concern of the health risks posed by accidental needlestick injuries, especially among parents of young children. The safety of all Green Deer participants is of top priority, however it is important to not let our fears override the facts. The risk of contracting a blood-borne illness (Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, or HIV) after a community-acquired needlestick injury is extremely low. The risks are much lower for community-acquired needlestick injuries compared to those sustained in a healthcare setting in part because community needles rarely contain fresh blood.

A study by the Canadian Paediatric Society found “A review of the literature up to July 2018 yielded 14 case series from areas of high prevalence for blood-borne viruses. These studies involved a total of 613 children with follow-up for HIV, 575 for HBV, and 394 for HCV. There were no transmissions.”

Another study of 274 paediatric patients with community-acquired needlestick injuries at two Montreal hospitals over a period of 19 years found there were no seroconversions upon testing for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV.

Ticks and Lyme Disease
At the end of your Green Deer cleanup, remember to check your body for ticks. Lyme disease is caused by a spiral-shaped bacterium, usually transmitted by the bite of an infected tick. More information can be found in the Central Alberta Lyme Society brochure, on the Tick Hot Spot poster, and in this guide to repellents.

Red Deer River Cleanup & Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

These annual spring and fall initiatives draw volunteers from across the city to join together to keep the river and shoreline litter-free. Both cleanups are organized similarly, with the Red Deer River Cleanup occurring every spring, and the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup happening each fall.

Red Deer River Cleanup: Cancelled for 2020

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup: Saturday, September 19, 2020

Certificates are available upon request. This is especially helpful for high school students looking to get volunteer hours!

Partners of the Red Deer River and Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanups include NOVA Chemicals, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, and Trout Unlimited Canada.

Volunteers who want more information on the Red Deer River and Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanups can call 403-346-2010 ext 111.

Adopt a park

Is there a green space in Red Deer that’s special to you? Why not adopt it?

More information on the Adopt a Park program.

Cigarette butt awareness program

A little litter can do a lot of damage

Cigarette butts are the most commonly littered item worldwide and Red Deer is no exception. Unfortunately, cigarette butts do not disappear.

A common myth is that cigarette butts are not harmful litter because the filter is made out of cotton that will easily decompose. In truth, a typical cigarette butt filter is made out of a type of plastic called cellulose acetate. These filters can take up to ten years to decompose, leaving behind microplastic pollution.

The microplastic pollution that comes from cigarette butts isn’t even the worst of what happens to that little cigarette butt that gets tossed on the ground. Cigarette butts leach toxins into the environment, get eaten by wildlife, are a primary cause of house and forest fires, and cost millions of taxpayer dollars to clean up.

If you choose to smoke, please do your part to dispose of cigarette butts responsibly.

Have you heard of pocket ashtrays?

Pocket ashtrays are a convenient way to butt out on-the-go. The air seal suffocates smokables (so you can insert a lit cigarette) and keeps the smell in!

Pocket ashtrays are the perfect addition to your everyday life (pop it in your purse, backpack, or car), but also for your adventures. The small size is ideal for camping, kayaking, or anything you do while out and about.

Free pocket ashtrays can be picked up at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre. Please email reddeergreendeer(at)gmail.com if you would like to request a large number of pocket ashtrays.

interested in recycling your cigarette butts?

Collect your cigarette butts at home or at work, then send them in to be recycled using a free shipping label. More information on recycling cigarette butts.

Ready to quit smoking?

Information on quitting smoking from Alberta Quits.