On Monday 26 February, YMCA Victoria and Zoos Victoria announced our new partnership, which will deliver 17 community clean-ups across the state.
Hosted at the new Torquay YMCA Early Learning Centre, the launch was also the first clean-up event, with more taking place in local community parks and beaches over the next few months.
The clean-ups are supporting Zoos Victoria’s When Balloons Fly campaign, which aims to protect wildlife that are at risk of ingesting rubbish, such as deflated balloons, which find their way into our waterways and oceans.
YMCA Victoria Acting CEO, Michelle Bruggeman, joined Zoos Victoria CEO, Jenny Gray, to collect rubbish with local Torquay families on Monday - and it was smiles all round for young and old.
“You didn’t need to convince the kids to pick-up rubbish, they were so passionate about getting involved,” said Michelle.
“I met two-year-old Ella, who picked up an empty water bottle and said to me, ‘Michelle, those naughty people could kill our birds’ - it goes to show that sometimes the most passionate and brightest people are our smallest as well!”
More than 800 community members will participate over the course of the program, with the children from Torquay being the first to lead the way. Families, students and members of the community can come collect rubbish from the local surroundings such as beaches and parks, with a YMCA and Zoos Victoria facilitator, who will equip participants with a specialised clean-up kit. This data will be recorded and uploaded to a national database and used for monitoring and guide future research.
17 YMCA Victoria sites have signed up to assist the delivery of the program. This includes YMCA Early Learning Centres, Campsites, and Recreation centres.
“Sometimes, all it takes is a step in the right direction to help our local wildlife! Everyone should try wildlife-friendly alternatives, such as bubbles instead of balloons during celebrations!” said Michelle.