May 24, 2017 @ 10:46
On Tuesday, May 15th the first annual Wawa Environmental Appreciation Day was held. Mayor Ron Rody presented a surprised Karin Grundt with the inaugural Environmental Appreciation Award for her outstanding work as a garbologist and her tireless advocacy and educating people about littering.
Karin began picking up the garbage along the highway in 1992. Joined by Agnes Ostemeier and Nancy Donald, the original garbologists picked up mounds, and mounds of garbage that first year. They cleaned to the Goose, to Michipicoten River, out towards Catfish Lake, and to Hawk Junction.
In 1995, the Garbologists walked all the way to Jager Strandboard cleaning as they went. Over the years, the names of Karin’s helpers have changed, but she remains the anchor. In addition to picking up the garbage, Karin writes about it in a seasonal, weekly column, first carried in the Algoma News, but then online here in Wawa-news. She reminds everyone in her blunt fashion not to litter, use recyclable bags at the grocery store, and other environmental issues.
Wawa residents are not alone though; Karin has also berated MP’s Brent St. Denis and Carol Hughes; MPP’s Mike Brown and Michael Mantha; and many Ministers of Transport over the years. Not much changed. The only positive change was the implementation of the ‘Stash your Trash’ between Wawa and Sault Ste. Marie that has an unrecognized direct connection to Karin.
Now at 80, Karin continues, but the area is less. She continues her column, but now there is an underlying concern – who will do this when she can’t. The schools, nurses, Three Guys on the Beach, and other groups help, but the main, huge cleanup is co-ordinated by Karin. Twenty-five years of experience helps her to know just when to start, how long it should take for each section, and when to stop.
This event hosted by the EDC of Wawa was a great highlight for Karin. Surprised, she thanked Ron for the certificate, and enjoyed two slices of the wonderful not-to-sweet strawberry laden angel food cake, with real whipping cream. After everyone had left, Karin had regained her composure and had many ideas that she shared with the staff of the EDC.
Shawn Mahon, Green Project Coordinator wrapped up the afternoon’s events, saying, “This is a small token of appreciation to everyone who keeps Wawa green and environmentally friendly. In addition, we’d like to say keep up the great work!”