The Great Islands Clean-Up (“GICU”) has been a County-wide celebration for the last seven years. Participants band together and scour the islands to pick up all the litter along the roads and beaches on Orcas, Lopez, Shaw, and San Juan Island (and sometimes some of the smaller islands as well).
This year we were excited to celebrate the 50th Annual Earth Day in conjunction with the GICU, however, this thing called COVID-19 happened and we were forced to cancel the Spring 2020 event.
But organizers, including San Juan County Public Works, agreed that trash collected by volunteers during the month of April would be paid for by County grant funds.
Many folks on Orcas took it upon themselves to continue the tradition of cleaning up the island – all while safely social distancing. In fact Orcas Islanders collected 2.22 tons of litter during the month of April.
One group, the “Crow Valley Posse,” picked up trash from Killebrew Lake to the Orcas Ferry Landing and all the way up Orcas Road to Main Street in Eastsound. They also took care of Deer Harbor Rd (from Orcas Rd to Channel Rd), the whole length of Crow Valley Road, Nordstrom Lane, and a couple beaches. They received appreciation from Islanders with waves, honks and “Thank Yous” being yelled out of passing vehicles.
A huge thank you to: Gordon Koenig, Anita Orne, Nancy Schafer, Steve McKenna, Christa Smith, Paul Groeninger, August Groeninger, Celia Groeninger, Gail Glass, Margot Shaw, Larry Thomas, Ronda Jones, Mark King, Sylvia, Tony Grosinger, Zoe, Paul Berry, Erika, Jennifer Walsh, Beth Gasser, Mark Gasser, Rachel Bishop, Kai, Tashi Litch, and organizers Nancy Schafer and Ginger Moore.
Another powerhouse was the Orcas Island Realty team, led by Lisa Wolford. They cleaned up Eastsound, with Asya Eberle, Suzanna Roach, Victoria and Cora Shaner, Deb Jones and Marcela Barrientos.
With any luck, the Fall GICU will be back in late September 2020. In the meantime, thanks to everyone who took the time to go out and clean up in April. Our islands are looking better than ever because of you all!