My Watermark is Lake Ontario.
Throughout my lifetime I have been to Lake Ontario a few times but I can't say that this waterbody really stuck out to me as anything special. Maybe it was because I spent a lot of time at all different waterbodies growing up and they all kind of meshed together as one big spot where I swam, fished, or played in the sand. Maybe it was because as a kid I never really knew where I was when we travelled around to different beaches, I hadn't learned the geography just yet. It wasn't until this past summer that Lake Ontario really made an impact on me, and I made an impact on Lake Ontario.
Through the non-profit I work for we hosted a project called Love Your Lake. Over ten weeks we ran 100 litter cleanups along the shores of Lake Ontario, starting in Niagara-on-the-Lake and wrapping up in Kingston, Ontario. I couldn't believe the things we found! Toilet seats, coconuts, and a turkey baster were among the weirdest items. In the end, with the help of many volunteers, we picked up 75, 692 pieces of litter. It sounds like a lot, but sadly we probably didn't even scratch the surface as there were many locations where we ran out of time before we were able to pick up all the litter.
Every location we cleaned up was unique in it's own way. Some places well manicured and others left wild. Some places with rocky cliffs and others with white sand beaches. I had no idea that Lake Ontario was so diverse in it's landscape. We saw birds, fish, raccoons, squirrels, and of course dogs and people. It's safe to say the lake is enjoyed by all. We never knew what to expect at the next cleanup location, but we were always pleasantly surprised by Lake Ontario's beauty and diversity despite the litter scattered around.
After so much time spent taking in the smell of lake water in the air, listening to the waves roll in, and feeling the lake breeze tousle my hair I have a new appreciation for Lake Ontario. I am so happy to have done my part to help heal the lake by removing so much litter. The lake needs our help and I'm looking forward to tackling this adventure again next summer.