The 46 members of the Norlane West Scout Group are fast becoming the unofficial guardians of a section of Cowies Creek in North Geelong.
The Cubs, Joeys and Scouts regularly undertake clean-ups along the creek, which winds through North Geelong and into Corio Bay.
In the last three years, they’ve removed tonnes of litter from a section of the creek starting at Shannahan Avenue through to Olympic Avenue.
Scout Group leader, Kim Brian said the Cubs, Joeys and Scouts, who range in age from five years to 14 years, participated in their first litter collection three years ago as part of Clean-Up Australia.
The clean-up started as a way for the scouts to earn their environmental badges, but quickly developed into a long-standing program that is now reaching out into the North Geelong community.
Last month volunteers from The Farm Café, Norlane Boomerang Bags and Friends of Cowies Creek support group joined the scouts for the clean-up, while Woolworths donated provisions for the after clean-up barbecue.
After only two hours, the volunteers had collected 420kgs of litter.
Aluminium cans, glass and plastic bottles, plastic bags, takeaway food containers, cardboard and other soft plastics such as food wrappers and straws were among the litter haul. Larger items included tarps, rubber hoses, kitchen furniture, a microwave and electrical conduit.
The site is now listed as a hotspot under the Caring for the Bays Litter Hotspot program managed by the Bellarine Catchment Network.
All litter collected at the site is recorded on the Litterstopper app and submitted to the Australian Marine Debris initiative for inclusion in a national litter database.
The scouts also monitor the water quality of the creek by taking samples and recording the results through the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority’s River Detectives program.
“We’re encouraging our youth to be proud of where they live and to contribute to keeping the area clean and healthy for our community and the animals that live there,” Kim said.
“The creek is home to the endangered growling grass frog, so we’re teaching them about this species as well as the importance of the creek vegetation in maintaining the quality of water flowing into Corio Bay.”
City of Greater Geelong supports the clean-up activities by collecting and disposing of the rubbish collected.