YOUNG, budding wildlife warrior Ashley Straga has launched a campaign to help save the ducks at Lake Esmond – and the five-year-old has called on some big names to help.
Ashley has met Clean Up Australia chairman and founder Ian Kiernan and City of Ballarat mayor John Burt to register his own Clean Up Australia Day site.
He was equipped with an Akubra, just like Kiernan’s, and an official T-shirt for his mission.
Summer trips to the lake sparked Ashley’s concern when he noticed increased picnic rubbish and cans lying about that could harm nearby ducks.
So he asked his mum to join the Clean Up Australia Day campaign. Ashley’s mum Sarah Straga was proud of her son, but this latest venture had not come as a surprise.
“I accredit it all to Steve Irwin. He never did the Wiggles or Play School. It’s all been Steve Irwin documentaries,” Ms Straga said. He doesn’t know how to tie shoe laces but he can do a top-jaw rope on a crocodile.
“He picks up rubbish on his own accord and makes me lug it around wherever we go. I don’t mind. I encourage the initiative.”
Ms Straga hoped to join a clean-up group but when finding Lake Esmond was not a registered site, took on the job of site manager.
Family, friends and Ashley’s new school community at St James Parish Primary School have all pitched in to help, working the clean-up in with the school’s sustainability programs.
Ashley says he wants to be like Steve Irwin and will visit the Irwins’ Australia Zoo for his birthday later this year.
For all the clean-up work Ashley does in the community, Ms Straga still has to make sure he remembers to clean his room.
An estimated 3.029 tonnes of rubbish were collected on Clean Up Australia Day in Victoria last year.