Every spring since 1991, the Friends of McNabs Island Society organizes a beach clean up. (www.mcnabisland.ca) In that time, over 11 000 bags of garbage have been collected on the various beaches on the island. You may be wondering why anyone would give up a Sunday in June to pick up garbage….. well, there are lots of reasons.
St. Paul’s United Church in Spryfield has long been active in environmental issues. We have a monthly fundraising bottle drive on the third Saturday of the month; we periodically have a Green Moment during our Sunday Service in which we call attention to local, national or global environmental issues; our Community Garden is chemical free; our Boy Scout Troop has adopted and cleans up a section of Old Sambro Rd; and the list goes on.
When talk of the beach clean up arose, we decided to give it a try. The congregation, the Unified Board and our minister, Reverend Jeanne Manning Stright, all thought it was a good idea. We reserved seats on the boat with the Friends of McNabs Island Society and prepared to help with some clean up and have our Sunday Service on McNabs. Yes, this is such a popular event that we had to make reservation to go pick up garbage!
What a day we had. First of all we met at Murphy’s on the Water to get the boat, the Harbour Queen. This boat holds 190 people and all spots were reserved. It was a beautiful sunny day and the boat ride was a treat. When we arrived at Garrison Wharf, we were handed gloves and garbage bags and then assigned an areain which to work. The folks from St. Paul’s, along with several other individuals, went to Ives Cove at the north end of the Island. We walked through the grounds of the former Hugonin Perrin Estate to the Military Road. These are lovely paths and trails, certainly worth the trip if that was all we did. We passed the Matthew Lynch house (he was Bill Lynch’s Dad), and the Conrad Davis house, whose original owner had had a bottling plant on the island many years ago. These lovely old homes are sadly in disrepair now but as we walked down their long driveway lined with hundred year old linden trees, we could appreciate their former grandeur.
At the end of Military Road, we came to Fort Ives and turned right and down hill to Ives Cove where our work began. During the beach clean up, the garbage picked up is not refuse left behind by visitors to the island. Generally, folks who make effort to go to such a spot are respectful and leave it as they find it. What we pick up is usually junk that has drifted in with the tide and it is always interesting to see what the winter has brought to the beaches. It happened that this year, Ives Coves was not very dirty. We mostly found bits of plastic, styrofoam and glass. Our work took us about 11/2 hours and then we went up to the fort for our lunch and church service at 1:00pm. We stood on the ramparts overlooking the harbour and the city, with the sun shining and the breeze gently blowing. The words of the beautiful hymn How Great Thou Art, seemed particularly apt as we sang… “When I looked down from lofty mountains grandeur And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze”.
There were so many blessings here especially for the children in our group. In one sunny day, they worked at looking after our world, had a picnic lunch, attended church in the ruins of an old fort and then got to play on the beach. It doesn’t get much better than that.
By: Carolyn Mont
This article can be found in the Vol 14, N.O. 11 July 2013 copy of the Chebucto News