Looking for an eco activity to get your family excited about Earth Day? Storm drain marking is a special activity that brought me precious one-on-one time with my young boys, helped educate my children and neighborhood about the environment, left a lasting memory, and involved no cost!
When I heard about an opportunity to mark storm drains, I immediately knew my kids would love to participate. I mean, what child doesn’t like fresh air, reflective vests, glue, and a hammer? Along with the process of marking drains, the kit comes with literature to distribute for residents to read about what ‘not’ to put into storm drains. This was my boys’ favorite part of the process and I loved watching people ask my kids what the pamphlets were for and listening to their answers. From the mouth of a babe—my younger son, Angelo, would simply reply, “I’m helping the fish”.
Storm drain marking is a conservation and education project developed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The process is to apply fish stickers beside the storm drain and hammer the decal with a mallet approximately 50 times so the sticker absorbs into the grooves of the cement. This activity needs to be done on a clear day and takes two days to fully dry.
My boys and I marked a long road and tagged fish decals to 35+ storm drains. They still proudly point to the drains they marked knowing they helped improve their community. It was such a fun activity and will always be a favorite memory of quality time spent with my boys.
Tips for making this activity a success:
- Set a goal. Your children will be so proud when they finish marking all the drains in their neighborhood or street.
- Always remember safety concerns if marking with younger children—especially if the road has sharp corners or is a high-traffic area.
- Talk to your local fish hatchery, the Ocean and Fisheries Department, or environmental branch of City Hall until you find a kit you can reserve.
- Spring/summer is the best time to tackle storm drain marking because you need a stretch of good weather. Bring a hat and lots of water—it’s hard work on a hot day!