Spring Cleaning

By Laura Smith (BUSA ’18)

When you are living within a city, such as Montreal, it can be overwhelming sometimes with all of the towering buildings and concrete. However, just a short walk from downtown is Mont Royal, the mountain that Montreal has built its base around. This park is filled with plenty of picnic spots, hiking trails, running trails, and other refreshing green spaces.

As the semester is coming to an end, the SCI 155 environmental science class here in Montreal decided to take a trip to Mont Royal for our final field trip. Throughout the semester, we have visited several museums and science exhibits, however, this is the first time that we were able to get hands on experience within the community. Our task for the day – clean up trash throughout the park.

To you, this may not sound like an exciting day, but when you are with a good group of friends it is actually a very enjoyable experience. Especially when the weather is cooperative, such as it was this day. Sunny and 65 degrees, the perfect spring day. It also felt good knowing we were helping the environment and the community while enjoying the nice weather and the very nice view of downtown.

When we first arrived at the park, we were given gloves and trash bags and then sent off into the woods to pick up anything that would not be able to naturally decompose. This meant anything like plastic water bottles, beer cans, plastic bags, bottle caps, and anything else that we may have come across. By the end of our time there, we were able to fill at least three full trash bags of various garbage.

Even though there was a lot more trash that we could have picked up, we unfortunately did not have a large amount of time there. After our collection of trash, the class had a discussion on why there might be so much trash within this area. The main idea we all had was that we were in a city and cities tend to have a lot of waste. This park also is a place where many seem to be able to escape to from the city, bringing their trash with them.

We all were able to agree that we felt good after helping clean up the area. The pieces of plastic that we collected very easily could have ended up in a bird’s stomach or around an animal’s neck, so we are glad that we helped prevent a few of those things from happening. Overall, we were just glad that we were able to help keep this area of the city clean and safe for everyone to use.

It will be hard saying goodbye to Montreal after becoming so close to this group of students and after falling in love with places such as Mont Royal. However, I am glad to have had experiences, like this one, from this science class. I know that I will always be able to visit Montreal and be able to come back to these places with the memories that I have gained from this semester abroad.