Posted by Frank Adamson
March 15, 2022
Join Rotary Clubs and partners in this annual Rotary International Service Project across the Great Lakes basin.  
The Great Lakes Watershed Cleanup initiative is an effort that has grown from a District 7090 service project covering a small portion of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie to a multi-District event to focus Rotarian's attention to the stewardship of all five of the Great Lakes plus the streams and waterways feeding them.  Our goal is to make this activity the single largest cleanup event ever planned and coincide with Earth Day 2022 on the Great Lakes Watershed.  The Great Lakes contains almost 20% of the world’s fresh water and is arguably the largest source of fresh water on the planet.  It borders eight states and two provinces and has 9,577 miles (15,323 kilometers) of shoreline.  So far 15 Districts, 100’s of Clubs, and thousands of Rotary volunteers have agreed to participate.  We will be joining over one billion people worldwide working on projects together in their communities on Earth Day.
Trash, plastics, and other littered items plague our waterways.  This trash poses a threat to terrestrial and aquatic life, often becoming microplastics and harmful toxins, and pollutes one of the most precious and limited natural resources. Shopping carts, tires, furniture, trash, foam cups, plastic containers, and aluminum cans contaminate our waterways and greenways.  More than 22 million pounds (10 million kilograms) of trash and plastic pollution ends up in the Great Lakes each year.
Cleanups from numerous non-governmental organizations, community groups, and individual volunteers are critical to reducing the amount of garbage that collects in our watersheds each year.  In order to track our success, the second goal will be to add up the amount of debris collected from each of the individual cleanup events.  The final and most important goal will be to educate the public on the value and importance of personal actions to protect our waterways and to instill a sense of stewardship for our Great Lakes.
We are encouraging clubs to choose a date for their clean-up event around Earth Day, April 22nd, post photos, videos, and information on social media, and have the measured results in for mid-May.   
This collaborative work project has generated much excitement and enthusiasm among communities and recognizes The Environment as a new area of focus of Rotary International efforts. The work of Rotarians is an all-year-round volunteer adventure and does not stop at this event. In our work, we promote the Service above Self ethic, show our communities that we are People of Action, and live the Serve to Change Lives 2021-22 theme.
Rotary/Rotaract Objectives:
  1. Improve the aesthetics of the Great Lakes by removing garbage from public areas and roadsides.
  2. Reduce the amount of plastic and litter on our lands and in our waterways.
  3. Remove waste that could potentially be ingested by pets and wildlife.
  4. Provide an opportunity for public participation and partnerships in collaborative activities.
  5. Educate the public about the effects of littering, the importance of recycling, and instill a sense of stewardship.
  6. Collect and report cleanup numbers and metrics to track the impacts of all the cleanups.
Opportunity for Clubs and Rotarians:
  • Engage as many Districts, Clubs, Rotarians, Rotaractors, and other volunteers around the Great Lakes Watershed
  • Each Club should find out what is happening in their community regarding clean-up events.  Engage with local Conservation Authorities, Watershed Groups, and local NGO’s to see what is already planned in your area and to coordinate or partner with them
  • If there an event is not found, plan to organize your own or join in a neighboring club's activity
  • Support will be available to each Club to help to organize the event. This includes Zoom training and information meetings.
  • Correspond with the District contacts to provide cleanup event date(s), location, and lead contact person for each event.
Frank Adamson
Immediate Past District Governor, District 7090
Rotary Club of Fonthill, Ontario
Dave Alexander
District Governor Nominee Designate, District 7090
Rotary Club of Welland
For additional information please contact Dave Alexander at