2021 Season Wrap

Hello Everyone,

We are wrapping on our tenth season of cleanups! This was a year of new COVID challenges. We began in the spring with mini pop-up cleanups with groups of five or less; this jumped to groups of 10 as things began to open back up. By mid-summer, we were back to our regular cleanups and we've been going strong since. This fall has been our busiest ever. In addition to our regular monthly rallies, we organized campus cleanups at Western and King's, we held a special corporate cleanup with Zedd Architecture, and we visited classrooms to talk about sustainability, river ecology, and environmental justice. We've been hopping! 

The year culminated with a huge cleanup at Westminster Ponds ESA. Over 60 people showed up to participate in a cleanup that was initiated by a group of young Environmental Leaders who were part of a class with TVDSB. 

We also hustled this year to secure grants from the Urban League of London, the City of London, and the Environmental Network (LEN). These funds helped us replenish our supplies and launch (with the support and partnership of LEN) our 10th anniversary River Cleanup and Art Competition. The winners of this competition will be announced in December--we've had some wonderful submissions from artists of all ages. 

And speaking of art, ARR made a film! Working with ARR volunteers and community members at Oneida Nation of the Thames, we made a film about water, waterways, pollution, and environmental justice. The film, starring many ARR volunteers, can be viewed at Museum London as part of a group show called GardenShip and State (a group of 20 national and international artists whose works tackle the challenges of saving our planet). 

We were also lucky this year to welcome student placements from King's Social Justice and Peace Studies program class. Our current student, Ron Hope, went before City Council this evening to read a letter ARR we wrote in support of more funding being devoted to a quicker fix of the City's combined sewage/storm water system, which is the cause of sewage pollution of Deshkan Ziibi/Thames River during high rainfall events (60 million litres of raw sewage was released into the river in September). 

We want to thank all of our volunteers for making our tenth season the best ever. The work of restoring and protecting our waterways is never ending, but we find great meaning in this work, and great joy in your company and community. 

Expect to hear from us again in early spring. Next year we plan to go back to setting up the whole season of cleanups in advance so you can put them on your calendar.  

Have a fantastic holiday season and brilliant winter.

We'll see you back at the river.

The ARR Team