Community Conservation Diversity Youth

TU Family Field Trip: Pollution pickup

Take your kids on a quest to become “Pollution Preventers” and head to a local river or stream to pick up trash from in or along the water.

Use the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, but also to discover and discuss the impacts and outcomes of our reliance on single-use plastics, the issue of pollution and how it damages rivers, streams and the oceans and threatens entire ecosystems and the animals that live there.

Use #cleanmywater and @troutunlimited on Facebook and Instagram to share your trash cleanup picture, join thousands of TU members and supporters like you working to keep our rivers clean, and to encourage other families to get out on the water and make a difference together.

Having a fun, goofy time outside as a family while taking care of the environment.

What you need:

  • Waders, boots or water shoes
  • Fishing nets, re-usable grocery bags or buckets to carry trash
    • Try to avoid using single-use plastic trash bags on a clean-up
  • A smartphone or camera to capture your haul and celebrate your success

Ask kids questions during the activity:

  • Where does all this plastic and trash come from?
  • Where would it go if we didn’t pick it up? (Be specific – which river is downstream, which estuary or ocean does it drain into?)
  • What type of trash did we find the most of? Why do you think that is?
  • How would you stop people from throwing more trash into or along the river?
  • How does this trash impact the ecosystem and the animals living here?

Pre-reading opportunities:

Kids vs. Plastic – National Geographic Kids (Ages 6-15)

Rivers: Plastic ‘Highways’ Into the Ocean – CNN (Ages 13-18)

Trout Unlimited clean-up campaigns

  • #CleanMyWater – Anyone who enjoys the outdoors is asked to pick up one netful (or bag) of trash from their local stream or river and post a photo to Instagram using #CleanMyWater and @UCCTU. Photos can be as silly, fun or artistic as you want, as long as they show the garbage you removed. Not only does this encourage others to get out and make a difference, everyone who participates March – June 2020 will have a chance to win some great prizes from the Upper Chattahoochee Chapter of Trout Unlimited.
  • #CleantheGreen2020 – People are encouraged to clean up the Green River and its tributaries from it headwaters in Wyoming’s Wind River Mountains 730 miles to its confluence with the Colorado River in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park. Monthly and grand prizes will be awarded for those who share images of picking up trash anywhere in the Green River damage.

Editor’s Note: Youth across America continue to be impacted by Covid-19 and the way it has changed their school and personal lives. Trout Unlimited wants to help families make the most of more family time together by providing fun, educational and social distance friendly activities in the outdoors. We will be sharing a collection of activities as part of the TU Family Field Trip series.

By Jeff Yates. A Trout Unlimited member since age 11, Jeff is a passionate conservationist and avid angler who sees opportunities to care for and recover our rivers and streams at every turn. As the Director of Volunteer Operations, Jeff and his team support, train and lead the more than 420 local chapters and state councils of TU across the country and are priveleged to work with the more than 4,000 volunteers who lead them as board and committee members. An author, fly fishing guide and avid outdoors person, Jeff lives in Connecticut with his wife Kit, and step-daughters Katie and Kat as well as their three rescue dogs, Tahoe, Sparrow and Jack. When he's not at his desk - or out in the field working with volunteers - Jeff splits his time boulder hopping along small native Brook Trout streams and hiking rocky terrain.