Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Penners get Trashy

We all know British Columbians are known for their tree-hugging and waving the environmental banner. Since we Penners are BC residents for this year, we thought we should do our part. Mike's consulting firm, HATCH, was putting together a group to participate in "The Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-Up" and we jumped at the chance to help.

Our job was to join other HATCH employees and their families at Spanish Banks on a beautiful fall Saturday morning and pick up garbage. The girls were actually quite excited about this - especially Ellie and Sasha. They had seen an Arthur episode in which the characters on the show did something similar and got to use POKEY STICKS! "Do you think we'll get pokey sticks, Daddy?"

Here are the young recruits outfit in their very generously fitting HATCH t-shirts ready to get to work!
Here's the whole Penner clan outfit in our official uniforms looking eager and ready for the task at hand.

Sticks! Yes - there were sticks to use. But not pokey sticks. These were even better. They had grabby fingers at the end that you could use to get a hold of any and all types of garbage. We were also given rubber gloves, a garbage bag, and an official tally-sheet to keep track of every single stinking piece of garbage we picked up. All of the stats get compiled so that if you would like to know how many bottle caps were picked up on Canada's shorelines this year, you can find out.

We were given our zone and off we went to work. I was the official tally-sheet marker and the girls and Mike rotated positions. It was clear from the start that cigarette butts were going to be the big winner on our sheet. In our small zone alone we picked up 136 butts! Mike even brought one home with him and mod-podged it to his canvas.

Those grabby-sticks work well for grabbing 5 year old girls too!

Here I am, making straight and orderly tally marks in all the right places. No, even though there were places on the sheet to record it, we didn't find any entangled animal carcasses or refrigerators. Just a lot of butts. And juice box straw wrappers. And balloons. And a lot of bottle caps.

Here is Team Penner standing with the trash bags the HATCH group collected. Nice job, girls.

After picking up trash for nearly two hours, we had a bbq lunch with the group and decided to stay at the beach to make the most of the gorgeous warm day. It's Vancouver, people. For all we knew, that was the last time we were going to see the sun until May.

Look at this pristine shoreline....

These are my favourite days and favourite moments. Feeling the sun on my face and the sand between my toes. Watching my girls dance near the water. Observing Sasha's meticulous work-ethic in action as she painstakingly builds a town from the sand.

After spending a few hours at the beach, we went out in search of more adventure. We found ourselves exploring Kitsilano and then ending up on a nude beach just off the UBC campus. But that's another story for another blog post. And if that didn't just hook you, I don't know what would.


  1. ummmm... how can you just DO that?! cliffhanger extraordinaire. i wanna hear about nude beaches! now all i'm going to think about this morning is the penners vs. naked bodies.

  2. and looking damned FINE while you tally up the butts. How many butts would you tally up on one of Jule's nudie beaches?

  3. I wanna hear about how you deal with talking about nudism with the girls!

    looks like a fun outing even if you were picking up after other people.