JULIE BERTRAND/Independent reporter
Every little act counts when it comes to protecting the environment. It’s a lesson that Stettler resident Grace Selinger has learned early on.
Every morning, rain or shine, Selinger goes on a three-mile walk around east Stettler, starting from her house on 44th Street, taking the ring road, through the east industrial park and making her way back home.
“I wake up at 6 a.m. and I start my walk at around 7:15 a.m.,” said Selinger.
It usually takes an hour and 15 minutes to complete her stroll at a moderate pace. On her walks, she always brings a garbage bag and a reacher with her.
“I pick up small things along the roads,” said Selinger.
Selinger tries to pick up as much trash as she can from the side of the roads, but an increase in littering means she has to leave a lot behind.
“I can’t carry it all and there’s so much of it,” said Selinger.
“I used to pick up garbage from the ditches but I don’t do it anymore. Too many things and my bag would be too heavy.”
The town’s recent clean up activities have helped make the roads somewhat cleaner.
“The clean up days help to keep the town clean but it doesn’t last very long because there are still people that are throwing their things away,” said Selinger.
While walking, she often sees furniture and industrial equipment that she believes just slid off from trucks and pick-ups.
She laments that the people keep driving instead of stopping to pick their stuff up.
“I think that people are more careless. They’re not thinking,” said Selinger.
“They throw things out in the nature instead of putting them in the garbage or recycling them.”
Even with the government incentives for recycling, she finds a lot of recyclables on the side of the roads and in trash cans in the industrial park.
She makes sure that her four sons, 14 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren do not litter while recycling as much as they can.
“Grandma’s always telling them to pick up their trash,” said Selinger.
On her walks, she looks for bottles and cans, which she brings to the bottle depot. With the money earned from selling them, she sponsors children in Third World countries through charitable organizations.
“I donate for children,” said Selinger.
“I pick up the bottles and the cans and then other people give them to me, too.”
Selinger has been taking her walks ever since she moved to Stettler from Gadsby in 1987. She used to walk in Gadsby, but she didn’t walk as much then as she does now.
“My dad used to take walks years ago, when I was a little girl. He’d take me with him,” remembered Selinger.
“I always enjoyed that because he was always talking about different things you could see in the sky and the birds and the rest of God’s creation.”
Like so many senior citizens, she had to get a hip replacement and she used walking to prep herself for the surgery. Now, two hip replacements later, Selinger is in better health than most people of her age.
“I am 74 years old. I’m on no medication. I take a few herbs to stay healthy,” said Selinger.
She has sciatica, but special shoes that look as if they could belong to Inspector Gadget help to alleviate the pain.
No matter how saddened she is by the amount of trash she finds, she still finds the time to enjoy her walks.
“It has become part of my life. It motivates you and it keeps you going through the day,” said Selinger.
She likes listening to the birds and often stops to talk to them.
“When I’m out here, I always hear them. They sit along the fence, singing away.”
She also sees rabbits and every once in a while, she’ll see a coyote.
She walks alone, though she’s had walking partners in the past.
“I walk every day, no matter what the weather is,” said Selinger.
“I might miss the odd day if I have to go somewhere early in the morning, but then I might do it when I get home if it’s not too late.”
Her love of nature continues at home, where she grows a big garden
“Everything is organic, because I use no sprays or chemicals of any kind,” said Selinger.
Selinger hopes that one day, people will learn to respect nature more and that it happens sooner than later.