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Saturday, April 27, 2024

Belle Isle Conservancy Logo white back.jpg

Earth Day on Belle Isle is all about enjoying + protecting our natural environment. With the map provided, you may pick up litter while exploring the park at your own leisure. At the end of the cleanup, please return to the Belle Isle Aquarium so that we can weigh the litter you collected and document the impact made on Belle Isle and along the Detroit River.

Through this event and the ongoing #KeepBelleIsleBeautiful anti-litter initiative, our goal is to make great impacts at both the local level, by reducing litter from Belle Isle, as well as the regional level, by being an active contributor to the umbrella, global campaign to keep our waters free of plastic pollution. Please join us in the fight for a clean environment. 

Cleanup Details

Time: 9:30am - 12:30pm, rain or shine

Location: Outside the Belle Isle Aquarium

Parking: Belle Isle Aquarium; Additional parking locations are marked on map linked below.

Supplies: Belle Isle Conservancy will provide trash bags (made of recycled ocean plastic pollution) and

gloves at check-in.

Weighing Your Impact: When you're done collecting single-use plastic and other littered items throughout the park, please return to the Belle Isle Aquarium to have it weighed. We love to measure our impact together! Every pound you collect prevents pollution in the Detroit River and our Great Lakes!

Groups: Groups are responsible for identifying their own meet-up location at check-in. Parking at check-in is limited. please consider carpooling or identify and communicate additional parking locations throughout the park, on the map, in advance. Group leaders are asked to communicate volunteer waiver requirements to their teams. Groups with more than 50 volunteers should email

Kayakers: If you are bringing your own kayak to the cleanup, there will be a kayak check-in table where we will assign you a launch location. 

Requirements: Each volunteer is required to sign the digital waiver in advance of the event. One waiver per individual. Each person in a group is required to individually sign their own waiver.  Legal guardians must sign for minors. Individuals onsite during the cleanup that have not completed the volunteer waiver will not be considered participants.

Belle Isle really does have the most passionate and dedicated volunteers and it’s so much fun to watch them work their magic. Spring Cleanup is my favorite day of the year at the park. It’s an amazing experience to see everyone come together and create this huge impact. The energy on the island during Spring Cleanup is unlike any event I've experienced. I look forward to it all year long.

Genevieve Rattray, Director of Sustainability & Advocacy, BIC

Once you complete the online volunteer waiver, simply show up!
Be 'in the know' with these additional details:


  • Completing volunteer waiver is required to participate

  • Limited parking is available outside the Belle Isle Aquarium; additional parking locations are marked on our digital map

  • This event is perfect for individuals, families, and groups of all sizes! 

  • This is a self-guided cleanup; please explore the park while picking up litter pollution

  • Boots are recommended, the park can be wet and muddy during the spring months.

  • Bring your own water and snack to stay hydrated and energized.

  • Consider bringing sunscreen and insect repellent.

  • Event will take place rain or shine. Click HERE to read about our our weather-related cleanup event cancelation policy. 

Coming as a small or large group?

 We love team building on Belle Ise! We do our best to support teams volunteering together but ultimately
it is the role of your group's team leader to distribute details and coordinate meet up location. Please note, each member of your group is required to s
ubmit a volunteer waiver. A legal guardian is required to sign volunteer waiver for youth under age 18.

History of Belle Isle Spring Cleanup

The Belle Isle Spring Cleanup began in the 1970’s with a small group of volunteers from the park’s surrounding community, who would gather to help prepare the island for the busy season. Together they’d execute projects like raking leaves, painting fences, and gardening at various sites around the island. There was some trash pick up involved, but the focus of their work was on beautifying the park and the event concluded with a hot dog lunch each year.

Decades later, after the Belle Isle Conservancy was formed and the MDNR later assumed management of the island, the Spring Cleanup grew to include larger volunteer groups from across the Metro area. With the growth in attendance, the scope of the event gradually matured with the MDNR beginning to implement light construction projects for pre-registered groups (like building fences and park benches), and simultaneously, the Belle Isle Conservancy steered the focus of the clean-up towards conservation.


This shift in focus aligned the Spring Cleanup with Earth Day and highlighted the impact that trash has on waterways, marine life, animals, and people on local, regional, and global levels with the [2018] public launch of the Keep Belle Isle Beautiful anti-littering campaign. Because the nature of picnicking and using parks heavily involves the use of single-use waste that ends up in the water, the campaign urges park users to be aware and accountable for the individual difference they can make to the environment by ensuring that trash is properly disposed of and go on to litter the waterways and pollute the globe.

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