Rose Mitchell Spohn – a Guildwood Village Community Hero

The Guildwood Village Community Association’s Communication Team has launched a special series called the Guildwood Village Community Hero in which the GVCA on its social media will feature community volunteers and their work.

Picking up litter is, for the most part, a thankless, behind-the-scenes kind of job, which is never really noticed until things aren’t cleaned up.

Meet Rose – a long-time Guildwoodian, community advocate and volunteer. Rose is behind the annual Shoreline Cleanup held by Friends of Guild Park since 2013. She also tirelessly picks up litter throughout the village on her daily walks, some of which she details on her twitter account.

We spoke to Rose about her volunteer cleanup work, and the numbers are staggering.

Since September 2013, Shoreline Cleanups along Guildwood’s Lake Ontario shoreline held by Friends of Guild Park (Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup) and A Greener Future (Love Your Lake Project) have removed 164,279 items of trash weighing 2,477 kg (5,449 lb) (that’s more than a two and a half tons of trash!) as of January 31, 2020.

What would this 2,477 kg of trash look like? Imagine about 291 bags large trash bags filled with garbage or recycling piled in a mound covering an area about 5 m x 4 m (16′ x 13′). Then throw on top two shopping carts, a shopping cart basket, a bike, 44 tires (including two huge tires!), a bike tire, some fencing, a large wooden box, a dozen or so tubs and buckets, some lids, a milk crate, two fire extinguishers, a propane tank, two small propane tanks, a plastic stepping stool, an outdoor folding chair, a pylon, two buoys, a gym bag, a suitcase, an extra-large basket, a grill, a rope spool, a dozen pieces of plastic pipe, a boat fender, two car mats, a brown Bell box, several hundred pieces of rusty metal, and about 1,325 pieces of rusty rebar.

Shoreline trash in those 291 bags includes: 74,610 pieces of plastic, foam and glass, 19,164 bottle caps, 8,775 nurdles, 7,948 beverage containers, 7,540 straws & stirrers, 5,408 food wrappers/packaging, 2,410 cups & plates, 1,921 utensils, 1,805 lids, 1,146 plastic bags, 1,093 pieces of paper, 1,056 pens/pencils/markers, 707 balloons, and 267 bags of dog waste.

And how is this for a mind-boggling visual: 291 stacked garbage bags would reach some 200 metres into the air. That’s the equivalent of 20 Greek Theatres stacked on top of one another, and that doesn’t even include the car tires, shopping carts or any other trash collected over the years.

We asked Rose what the Guildwood community could do to help reduce litter. Over the last few weeks, although to a lesser degree, discarded masks and gloves have made it into the mix. “There is no excuse for littering,” she answers. Advocating for more garbage bins and inspiring more people to clean up, of course, is great but “what I really want to do is inspire people to not throw stuff on the ground in the first place.”

Thank you, Rose! We all benefit from your hard work.

You are a Guildwood Village Community Hero!


If you’d like to nominate someone for this new series, send an email with the person’s name and description to communications@guildwood.on.ca