May 2020 Update:As part of The City of Red Deer’s Phase 1 Re-opening Plan, a modified Green Deer program will start May 15 (end date TBD), with supplies available for pick up at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre. See below for more details, or click here to register online today.
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:
- Green Deer Spring Cleanup Campaign
- Red Deer River Cleanup
- Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup
- Adopt a Park
- Cigarette Butt Awareness Program
Green Deer Spring Cleanup Campaign
May 15, 2020 – End Date TBD
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, 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?
Although it is prudent to physically self-isolate and socially distance ourselves amid the COVID-19 crisis, it is imperative we recognize this does not mean we should socially self-isolate. Participating in Green Deer is a great way to build social connections and give back to your community during this time of need.
Families stuck at home with children out of school can make a real difference by picking up litter, not to mention both the physical and mental benefits of spending time outside! Use this as an opportunity to show your 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, while participating in Green Deer, be sure to follow the latest recommendations set out by government and public health officials. Do not organize large gatherings to pick up litter with your community association or business as you may have done in past years, but instead focus on what you can do as an individual or family.
As the COVID-19 situation develops, Green Deer organizers will evaluate the possibility of providing a new barbecue and BBQ party prize to one lucky winner, as in past years.
How to Register?
Registration is free, fast, and easy. For spring 2020, registration must be done online or over the phone; there will not be any in-person registrations.
Online Registration Form
To register online, simply click the above link and fill out the Google Form. To register over the phone, please call the Kerry Wood Nature Centre at 403-346-2010 and one of our friendly staff will fill out the online registration form with you. Please note that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there will be fewer staff on hand to help with registrations over the phone.
Where to pick up supplies?
Although in past years Green Deer supplies could be picked up at the Collicutt Centre, G.H. Dawe Community Centre, or Red Deer Recreation Centre, supplies will not be available at these locations in 2020 due to the current health situation.
If you require supplies for your Green Deer cleanup, you may pick these up from the Kerry Wood Nature Centre at a pre-arranged date and time. Please be aware that the Kerry Wood Nature Centre is closed to the public as part of the city-wide response to COVID-19, so it is imperative that you arrange a pick up date and time with the Green Deer organizers before coming to the Nature Centre. Note that there is a question on the online registration form that will allow you to indicate your preferred date and time of pickup.
If you desire to pick up one or two free pocket ashtrays at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre, you may indicate this on the online registration form. More information on pocket ashtrays and the Cigarette Butt Awareness Program is available here.
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.
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 pediatric 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.
garbage pick up available
Please put your Green Deer garbage bags with your own household garbage whenever possible (in your black cart). If you’re choosing this option, garbage bags can be plain garbage bags bought from a store, or they can be Green Deer garbage bags.
If you have collected large amounts of litter, please place them near a City park or activity centre garbage can and email with the number and location of the bags you left out (we need to pick them up as soon as possible so wildlife doesn't get into them and undo all your hard work). Garbage bags left out in the open for pickup must be Green Deer garbage bags, obtained from the Kerry Wood Nature Centre, not plain garbage bags bought from a store.
During the campaign dates, Green Deer garbage bags may also be brought directly to The City of Red Deer Waste Management Facility (landfill) without paying a fee. This offer does not apply to plain garbage bags bought from a store.
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 summer 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.
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: Postponed until at least June 30, 2020*
Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup: Saturday, September 19, 2020*
*Please be aware that these dates may change, or the cleanups cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Any changes will be posted on this website.
Pre-registration is not required for the Red Deer River or Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanups. On the day of each cleanup, residents are asked to arrive at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre promptly at 12:30 p.m. to receive their cleaning supplies and to be assigned a specific area of the riverbank to clean. Volunteers can expect to be done cleaning up litter by 3:30 p.m., with a free BBQ and prizes to follow each cleanup.
Participants should wear appropriate clothing and footwear, and bring gloves. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
Certificates are available upon request. Please speak to the coordinator upon arrival at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre on the day of the event if you would like a certificate. 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?
To find out how to get involved or for more information on the Adopt a Park program, please contact The City of Red Deer, Recreation, Parks & Culture, or click here.
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.
If you would like to pick up your free pocket ashtray, you may do so at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre. Please note that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kerry Wood Nature Centre is not open to the general public. However, we can still get you a pocket ashtray if you arrange a pick up date and time with the Green Deer organizers by emailing , or simply add a pocket ashtray to your supplies pick up order when you register online for Green Deer.
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. For more information on recycling cigarette butts, click here.
Ready to quit smoking?
For information from Alberta Quits, click here.