No. 41 – Making the Woods of Lake Ohau Rubbish Free

As our family explored the area around Twizel, a small town sitting near the base of New Zealand’s famous Mt. Cook, we discovered Lake Ohau. A beautiful little lake fed by glacial waters, Lake Ohau’s milky, seafoam green color is dotted with small tree-covered islands. We wandered around the woods near the lake, where the girls discovered the bright red Fly Agaric mushrooms, which resemble Smurf houses according to them…or Super Mario bonus points according to Brian.
Lake Ohau New Zealand
Lake Ohau glacial waters

The only drawback to our lovely Ohau experience was the trash we found strewn throughout the woods. Bits of rubbish sat on the forest floor among the pine needles and mushrooms, bringing an unfortunate reminder of our human impact on nature. Our family came back a couple days later armed with a roll of trash bags. We picked up the standard soda cans, beer bottles, candy wrappers and plastic bags. We even found things like socks, wine glasses, hats, a dust pan (ironically), a dirty diaper (Come on, parents! Really?!) and a couple massive empty bags of horse feed.

Our time in the woods made a difference to the visual beauty of the area and we got some words of thanks from the locals who saw us at work. After asking me what we were doing and hearing our story one woman I met said, “I come here to sit in the mornings several times a week. I don’t know why I never thought about cleaning up before, but you can bet I’m going to do it from now on.”

Not to sound totally corny, but sometimes this trip gives me some serious “warm fuzzies.”

About the Author

Tracey Carisch

Mom, wife, friend and change agent traveling the world with my family to learn our place in it. After spending a career in organizational change management and community initiative implementation, I put my career on hold for our family's trip around the world. In April of 2014 we sold almost everything we own, put the rest in a storage container, and departed on this journey. While my husband continued his software development work to financially support our trip, I planned and documented our adventure, homeschooled our three daughters, and found volunteer work opportunities for us to do in the communities we visit. Now that we've returned to the U.S., I'm completing book about our family's adventure and our lessons learned.

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1 Comment

  1. When I taught third grade, I’d plan a “clean up the grounds day” each spring, and the best comment I had was from a boy who said he’d thrown stuff out his window before and had never thought much about it, but he never would again….. we know three girls who will never litter too! You left this place better for having been there.

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