Green Deer

July 29, 2020 Update:

The Green Deer Spring Cleanup Campaign ended on July 24 — thank you to everyone who participated! We are now accepting pre-registrations for the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. More information is available below, or click here to pre-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:

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

Green Deer Spring Cleanup Campaign

May 15, 2020 – July 24, 2020

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?

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, including maintaining 2 metres between participants from different households and washing or sanitizing hands often.

How to Register?

Registration is free, fast, and easy. Registration for the spring 2020 Green Deer campaign is now closed. Please consider registering for the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup if you would like to do your part to keep our city clean.

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.
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

Due to an abundance of caution amid the COVID-19 health pandemic, pre-registration is required to participate in the 2020 Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. Pre-registration is free, fast, and easy. The last day to pre-register is Sunday, September 13, 2020.

Online Pre-registration Form

On the day of cleanup, volunteers will meet a Kerry Wood Nature Centre staff member at their assigned route's meeting location. Unlike in past years, please note that the Kerry Wood Nature Centre is not the meeting location for all volunteers.

As part of the online registration form, cleaning route descriptions and meeting locations are listed, and volunteers can indicate their preferred cleaning routes. Prior to the cleanup, every registrant will receive a confirmation email from Green Deer organizers with their assigned route and further details.

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. 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.