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Athens Creek resident sends a big message about plastic

May 16th, 2023

Donna and friends in Lions Park on April 23. Darren Sweet from Summerland operated the drone and Penticton photographer Stuart Bish was the "stage manager."

In honour of Earth Day, Donna Schellenburg spelled out a message of love for our planet – with one of the very things she believes is harming it: single-use plastic containers.

A resident of Points West Living Athens Creek (Penticton), Donna is passionate about recycling and protecting the environment. She noticed the single-serve yogurt containers in the bistro at breakfast and brought in a bin to help prevent them from going into garbage. She collected and cleaned the containers every day.

“I thought she was washing and recycling them, but turns out she was saving them,” said Athens Creek office administrator Ellie Bertrand. “And she’s formed a network with others in community about the disposal of plastics in our landfills.”

One of the ideas Donna and her fellow residents came up with was to mail a box of the empty yogurt containers they had collected to the company that makes them, along with a letter asking them to take more responsibility for the problem of plastic waste generated by their product.

They also came up with the idea of holding an Earth Day event on April 23 in Donna’s beloved Lions Park near the lodge, inviting local high school students and other community members to join in. Using the collected containers, the group spelled out messages like “Planet Earth,” “Love Our Land,” and “Land Is Life” on the grass, which was captured in a photo in the Penticton Herald.

Donna continues to collect these containers and use them to share the message about the harm they can do to the environment. And not just on Earth Day, but throughout the year, as she visits different high schools to spell new messages with the students and take photos.

Eden Principle 4: We thrive when we have purpose and the opportunity to give, as well as receive. This is the antidote to helplessness. 

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