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
- Eco-Trivia Party
Before beginning a litter cleanup in your community, please take a moment to review the safety information at the bottom of this page.
Green Deer Spring Cleanup Campaign
March 21 – May 31, 2021
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.
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 at the bottom of this page, and follow the latest recommendations set out by government and public health officials regarding COVID-19.
How to Register?
Registration is now closed for the 2021 Spring Cleanup Campaign. Check back here in March 2022 to register for the 2022 Spring Cleanup Campaign!
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.
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. Both cleanups are subject to change according to recommended COVID-19 safety measures.
Red Deer River Cleanup: Saturday, June 5, 2021
Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup: Saturday, September 18, 2021
Certificates are available upon request. This is especially helpful for high school students looking to get volunteer hours!
The Red Deer River and Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanups are made possible thanks to the generosity and support of NOVA Chemicals, INEOS Canada Partnership, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, and The City of Red Deer.
Adopt a park
Is there a green space in Red Deer that’s special to you? Why not adopt it?
All Adopt a Park volunteers are automatically eligible to win the Green Deer Spring Cleanup Campaign prize.
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, littered cigarette butts do not disappear and can result in a fine of up to $1000.
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 can carry a pack of cigarettes and a lighter, then you can also carry a pocket ashtray.
Want to help spread the word?
If you are from an organization or business that would like to help spread the word about the harmful effects of littered cigarette butts and the availability of free pocket ashtrays, you are welcome to use any of the following Cigarette Butt Awareness Program poster designs:
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?
Eco-Trivia Party is Green Deer’s free education and outreach program, created for students from Kindergarten to Grade 12, and designed to work in any indoor, outdoor, or virtual classroom. The Eco-Trivia Party program length can vary from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours, depending on your class’ schedule and learning needs.
When you book an Eco-Trivia Party, a Green Deer representative will lead your class through a gameshow activity that gets your students learning about and engaging with relevant environmental concerns in an age-appropriate manner. At the end of the program, each participant will commit to a personal change that will have a positive environmental impact. After the Eco-Trivia Party, groups are highly encouraged to take action and make a difference in their community through a Green Deer litter cleanup (supplies provided as needed).
The Eco-Trivia Party and post-program litter cleanup have curriculum connections at all grade levels, including ties to science, social studies, environmental and outdoor education, and leadership development. Children and youth who participate in the Eco-Trivia Party program will develop a sense of personal and shared responsibility for actions taken; foster respect for living things and environments, and commitment for their care; and explore simple ideas to pursue a balance between the needs of humans and a sustainable environment.
When preparing for your Green Deer cleanup, make sure you are dressed appropriately for the weather and the task. Wear gloves and closed-toe 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 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. This study also found that "64.6% of children purposely picked up the needle," indicating that the simple act of educating children and youth about needles could prevent a significant number of community-acquired needlestick injuries in paediatric patients.
If you or someone you know has been poked by a used needle, wash the affected area with soap and water, and talk to your doctor or call 811. Further information is available on the MyHealth Alberta website.
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 on ticks and Lyme disease for Albertans is provided on the Alberta government website. More information on how to protect you and your loved ones is in the Central Alberta Lyme Society brochure, Tick Hot Spot poster, and guide to repellents.