Tackle local pollution with a Paddle Pickup!

Nov 7, 2021

  • In 2017 Scottish Canals introduced the Paddle Pickup to tackle pollution, an innovative environmental adventure for schools, youth groups and corporate team building
  • 50% of the plastic we use, we use only once and then throw away
  • Often these plastics end up in our waterways, causing huge environmental problems

Local schools and organisations have been working with Scottish Canals to tackle local pollution through organised Paddle Pickups. The Falkirk Wheel team were delighted to host their latest group of climate activists, Carmuirs Primary School,  during COP26. They stepped forward to undertake a water-based litter pick as part of their environmental awareness education programme.

Increasingly schools, eco committees and community groups have been reaching out Scottish Canals to undertake this rewarding outdoor activity, especially coming out of lockdown.  It’s a win-win for everyone. Schools get an educational outdoor activity, they are inspired to learn how to help minimise their impact on the environment and keep their stretch of canal #tidygreenclean, and it helps keep Scotland’s canals tidy. The activity is also open to companies looking for a team building activity or who hold company volunteering days.

Engaging local community groups

Keep Camelon and Tamfourhill #tidycleangreen Group, was successful in securing a grant from the Great Place Falkirk Heritage Lottery funded project to support clear ups at the canal. This led to a wide range of youth and community groups taking part in full day events focused around the Forth and Clyde Canal from Lock 16 to the Falkirk Wheel. The sessions involved Paddle Pickups up along the waterway, litter picks on the canal towpath and workshops which looked at the environmental impact on the local community caused by littering and fly tipping. Groups from the local schools, youth groups, families and Forth Valley Recovery Community all participated in the programme. The community volunteers received certificates of appreciation for their work and younger people gained their Saltire Group Challenge Award.

Community Safety Engager John Hosie said: “This project was an effective and positive way of encouraging local people to get involved with the canal network, and it has made a visible difference to the environment. Young people in particular have identified interesting and creative ideas for keeping their community #tidycleangreen. The learning workshops were an important and enjoyable way to learn about climate change and how we can improve matters by taking action locally that also impacts globally.”

Scottish Canals’ Activities Manager Matt Skilling said: “Delivering these sessions is always a hugely rewarding outdoor experience for groups.  It is wonderful to see the younger generation take pride in caring for their environment.  I would like to see this momentum and interest to continue.”

Paddle Pickup

Scottish Canals is keen to hear from more groups and organisations interested in organising future Paddle Pickups. These events are an educational, fun and rewarding experience. Participants equipped with litter picking materials and a buoyancy aid and are given a safety brief by qualified instructors who supervise the water-based litter pick.

Organising and taking part in a Paddle Pickup:

  • Helps protect wildlife
  • Helps minimise pollution
  • Brings you closer to nature
  • Is a fun, outdoor activity for all ages and abilities
  • Develops team working skills

Find out more on the Scottish Canals website.

Or to book, please email activities@scottishcanals.co.uk

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