Friends help keep Lethbridge river valley beautiful - #SAWC17

* As the Southern Alberta Water Charter is coming close to its wrap up, we are showcasing more completed efforts from groups that had joined this movement.  We are also very excited for our follow up Awards Ceremony which will be taking place later this fall where we will be giving out awards to participants that fully succeeded in completing their actions with the hopes of having some guest speakers share their success stories with everyone.  The following guest post by Curtis Goodman of the Friends of Helen Schuler Nature Centre Society tells us about their coulee clean-up experience along with the importance of doing such events and how everyone can do their part to make a big difference in protecting our drinking water *

Friends of Helen Schuler Nature Centre Society Volunteers participating in Coulee Clean-Up

Friends of Helen Schuler Nature Centre Society Volunteers participating in Coulee Clean-Up

The Friends of the Helen Schuler Nature Centre Society is a proud signatory of the Southern Alberta Water Charter (SAWC2017). Our organization’s mandate is to advance nature appreciation in Lethbridge by raising awareness and community support for the Helen Schuler Nature Centre. The Friends of Society exists primarily to

1. Support education programs and special projects
2. Enhance the resources of the Helen Schuler Nature Centre
3. Foster the importance of nature

Since the Society’s formation in 2012 they have hosted an annual Coulee Clean-Up drop-in. This year was no different with a small contingent of community members assisting the Society’s members in cleaning up one of the most scenic areas in Lethbridge – the 10 ST W roadway from University Drive to Cottonwood Park entrance. Over the years participating members have noticed a big change – less garbage is found in this area compared to the previous year.

CCUP 2017 - Earth Day Launch - photo by Lisa Lambert.jpg

Finding less garbage year-over- year is important because it leads to better water quality within our watershed. Garbage in our river valley can leach chemicals and can breakdown over time degrading the health of the Oldman River.  Everyone likes to drink clean water – keeping our coulees tidy helps our ecosystem deliver fresh clean drinking water. Furthermore, removing garbage from the landscape improves the habitat for the animals that depend on a healthy ecosystem. We all enjoy seeing wildlife on our outdoor excursions. By helping to ensure a clean habitat we can be good neighbours to all the wild things that call this land home.


This year’s Coulee Clean-Up has seen tremendous support from the community. With over 1,200 volunteers taking part to remove 530+ bags of trash from many areas throughout the river valley. Coulee Clean-Up helps to keep Lethbridge looking beautiful while also making it safer for everyone who enjoys the river valley. In the past 10 years over 3,650 bags of trash has been removed thanks to the efforts of volunteer participants. The effects of the program are evident with more people taking part, more areas of the river valley being covered, and less accumulated garbage being found year-over- year.

The Friends of Helen Schuler Nature Centre Society encourages everyone to be mindful of their trash to ensure it does not end up in natural areas. Garbage affects the aesthetic value of the river valley, and, perhaps most importantly, garbage is hazardous to wildlife and their habitat.

Tips for residents to help reduce litter in our city include:

  • Ensure there is a lid on your garbage bin;
  • Ensure all garbage is bagged and tied tightly;
  • Investigate sources of garbage on your street and talk with neighbours about how to reduce litter in your neighbourhood;
  • Reduce the amount of waste you generate with a reusable beverage container; and have a conversation with the litterbugs in your life about how garbage affects our community.

If you would like to join the Friends of Helen Schuler Nature Centre Society or would like to find out more information about our upcoming projects, please visit

The Oldman Watershed Council is a not-for-profit, registered charity. Our Board consists of a large group of sector representatives - 23 voices united together behind policies, research, education, and projects for the betterment of watershed management and health.  We welcome all efforts made to make a difference in our watershed.  Volunteer. Donate. Make a Change.