A reported 37 garbage bags were collected during the third annual Strides Plogging event in Canmore from late April to mid-May. Plogging is a Swedish term for an activity combining jogging and picking up litter.
Over 40 ploggers participated, but with the COVID-19 crisis, a few changes were made this year including extending the single-day event to three weeks.
“I didn’t want to quit the event altogether this year and I thought it’s actually a great event to run this year,” said organizer and owner of Strides Canmore Kylie McKendrick. “People have more time and there’s so many runners and walkers out because it was the only thing people could do and the weather cooperated this year for plogging.”
Some of the social aspects of the event were cancelled, but that might have inadvertently helped out in a different way. When McKendrick started the initiative in 2018, she said around 800 pounds of litter was removed from the downtown core, where the ploggers predominantly picked up litter.
“The past two years we started and ended out of the store,” McKendrick said. “So an advantage of this year is people went in their own neighbourhoods, so it might have cleaned up a wider reach of Canmore versus the last two years we were more centred around downtown."
In years past, ploggers brought the collected garbage back to the store for weighing and a grand prize was given out to whomever brought in the biggest haul. An after event social would then take place at a local brewery. Instead, this year, ploggers were encouraged to take a photo of their haul before discarding it and send the photo to McKendrick.
Misty Kendal and her 10-year-old daughter Alison collected three big bags of trash and one small bag of recyclables during their first-ever plogging outing earlier in May. Out for about two and a half hours near the Pallister Trail area, getting out of the house and being active with her daughter was a welcomed opportunity for Misty.
“I’ve always known about [plogging] since they started it, but I’ve had a busy schedule and we never had a chance to do it,” Misty said. “But with the COVID stuff, I’m not working at the moment and was excited to give it a try.”
Misty added she's thankful to have used plogging as an educational tool for interested onlookers and also with her daughter.
“I think it helped set the tone for being a good person for her,” she said.