Litter Cleanup & Storm Drain Marking around Ron McLean Park, Burnaby – May 27, 2023


Litter Cleanup & Storm Drain Marking around Ron McLean Park, Burnaby – May 27, 2023


Group photo of the incredible community members who joined us for this activity!



Highlights From The Day


  • 56 amazing members of the community joined us and contributed 176 hours total!
    • Thank you so much for your hard work and enthusiasm: Aaron, Abhishek, Amane, Amy, Angel, Anurag, Art, Chris, Danton, Dhara, Erin, Evelyn, Gary, Glenda, Gomcee, Guangze, Guy, Harry, Hoi Ning (Helin), Huijing (Jennifer), Irina, Jan, Joan, Joy, Kulter, Kyle-John, Leaf, Lina, Lisa, Mark, Marlene S, Marlene L, Nathan, Nicholas, Noriko, Onkar, Randy, Robert, Ruobin (Amber), Samanpreet, Selina, Sesame, Shehreen, Sherry, Stacey, Sylvie, Tin Yau (Tiann), Tina, Vikas, Xinning (Joan), Xueying (Sherry), Ye (Kelly), YongLin (Lynne), Zhancheng (Mark) and Zian (Mavis)!
    • Special thanks to Evelyn and Nicholas who helped lead teams of volunteers!
    • Thank you Zhancheng (Mark), Glenda, Kyle-John, Evelyn and Nicholas who arrived early and helped us get set up!


  • All ages, backgrounds, and experience levels were engaged including families, returning Green Team volunteers, and first-timers!
    • 36 people visited Ron McLean Park for the first time
    • 31 people cleaned up litter for the first time
    • 27 people learned what a yellow fish on a storm drain means
  • Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley and his assistant Elaine joined us at this activity to hammer down yellow fish and personally thank our volunteers and everyone involved in organizing this activity!
    • Thank you Mayor Hurley for your continued support of what we do and for helping make this Spring Cleanup possible!


  • Together our team:
    • Hammered down 107 yellow fish on storm drains to educate and remind the community that these drains lead directly to fish habitat in Byrne Creek
      • Storm drains are not part of the sanitary sewer system and we need to keep harmful things out of them to protect fish habitat. Only rain down the drain!
      • Door hangers were also delivered to residents living on streets with these newly marked drains to provide additional education
    • Removed over 150 pounds of litter from areas surrounding Ron McLean Park to keep litter out of our streets, waterways and ecosystems
      • 1000+ cigarette butts were removed, a tiny but deadly piece of plastic, toxic litter. This was the #1 most common item found!
      • 350+ fragments of plastic were removed, making it our 2nd most common item
      • 200+ pieces of paper was removed, putting it at our 3rd most common item
      • Additional items found included beverage cans, a piece of carpet, bucket of cement, food wrappers, garbage bags full of broken tiles, rope, lightbulbs, a towel, clothing, firecrackers, electronics, DVDs, a doll and more!
  • Scroll down to see some in-action shots!


  • The Byrne Creek Streamkeepers, a dedicated local volunteer group who stewards the area played an important role in this activity by leading and making the storm drain marking possible
    • Special thanks to Joan, Rob, Graham, Ray, Lorraine, Bernie, Paul and Lori for sharing their time and expertise in various way to elevate this activity!
    • Thank you to all the Streamkeepers who do an excellent job caring for and advocating for Byrne Creek and the surrounding areas!



  • Zero and low waste snacks were enjoyed by all at our break including homemade vegan brownies and fish shaped sugar cookies, watermelon, veggies and dip, strawberries, trail mix, yummy popcorn donated by Noochpop and more!


  • Thank you to the following local businesses for their support and contributions to this activity:
    • LUSH for providing Sleepy Lotion and Dirty/Sparkle Toothpaste Tablets to reward our amazing community
    • ICS Clean Supplies for donating gloves, hand sanitizer and offering discounts on bags and litter pickers to make this cleanup possible
    • Big K Clothing for donating high visibility vests to keep our volunteers safe


  • Our Community Investment Partner, the City of Burnaby, provided direction and funding to make this unique activity possible!
    • Special thanks to Erik Schmidt, Zac Dér and Mario Bolognese in the Engineering Department for their contributions before and during this activity to make it so successful!



In-Action Photos


The below photos were taken by our staff and amazing volunteers! Lyda baked delicious cookies shaped like fish to give to those who helped take photos to capture moments from this awesome day.




Why Do We Do This Work?


The Lower Mainland Green Team organizes hands-on educational activities that have a positive environmental impact to empower people. Through activities such as invasive plant removals, plantings, litter cleanups and more, we are fostering connections with others and nature so that health and well-being is prioritized, lifelong environmental stewardship is promoted, and community members are enabled to take care of themselves, each other and the places they live. We all have the power to make a difference!

We all experience mental and physical health benefits from spending time in nature, including reduced stress and anxiety, and improved mood, focus, memory and more. While doing so, we can also have a positive impact on the environment as demonstrated through this activity!


Partner For This Activity


This activity was made possible thanks to financial support and direction from the City of Burnaby Engineering Department. Thank you Erik and Zac!

Through this partnership we are combining our expertise to achieve our common goals – a win for all! Thank you City of Burnaby for investing in your community and environment through the work of our organization.

The City of Burnaby will be organizing 4 more cleanup events in different areas of the City from June – September. Learn more about these events on the City’s website HERE!



Collaborator For This Activity


The Byrne Creek Streamkeepers played an important role in this activity by leading and making storm drain marking possible. The Streamkeepers are a dedicated local volunteer group with a huge impact who monitor the health of Byrne Creek and conduct streamkeeping activities to support chum and coho salmon, cutthroat trout, stickleback, crayfish, and other species that live in the stream. They also help keep the Byrne Creek Ravine Park area clean and do an excellent job doing so! 



Joan, one of the Streamkeepers leading the drain marking, told everyone in our introduction that we need to start treating our streets the way we treat our streams, as ultimately everything on the streets will make its way to the streams. This urban stream, as do many others, face challenges and sadly experience fish kills due to spills in the creek. Through this activity we are hoping to educate not only participants about where storm drains lead and what a yellow fish means, but also others in the area so that we can all protect critical fish habitat by preventing spills and litter from entering these drains.

Nature is resilient, but can use a helping hand sometimes. The work of the Streamkeepers shows this as fish continue to return to this creek thanks to their dedication and care. Anyone who is interested in being part of the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers, marking storm drains, or learning more about this watershed is encouraged to check out their website HERE and reach out.



What Volunteers Said


“Everyone was so friendly. I came on my own and a couple helped me out right away. I felt a sense of pride picking up litter. People came and thanked us for cleaning up the park. I use the park all the time and it is wonderful to not see litter. The whole team was awesome. So welcoming and inspiring.”

– Marlene S.


“I really enjoyed participating. Unfortunately, all I see on the ground is cigarette butts now!”

– Erin


“We had lots of fun. The cookie was delish!”

– Jan


“We enjoyed today. You always do such a good job with this. You make everyone feel so welcome.”

– Marlene L.



Our Staff


This activity was led by the Lower Mainland Green Team‘s Program Manager Ashton Kerr (left) and Green Teams of Canada‘s founder and Executive Director, Lyda Salatian, (right)who also founded our Lower Mainland Green Team in 2011!




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