Results of Red Flag Project

88. That's how many piles of dog waste we found along the loop trail of Gray Reservation in Sudbury this past spring. We marked these piles with small flags to draw attention to the amount of dog waste being left on trails.

SVT embarked on the Red Flag project at the suggestion of Emily Anderson, one of our MassLIFT-AmeriCorps members. Emily wanted to remind dog owners that dog waste is more than an unsightly nuisance. Dog waste carries bacteria that have serious, harmful impacts on the land and water in the area.  SVT has published a brochure that explains these impacts.

By flagging the dog waste, Emily hoped to bring attention to how must waste is left along our trails. She was amazed to place 88 flags along a trail that takes only 20 minutes to walk. And this was at a reservation where SVT provides a dog waste station with bags and a bin for disposal.

Sydney and Robin Merrill, a local mother-daughter team who serve as volunteer Preserve Stewards at Gray, said the Red Flag project seems to have had a positive effect. They "have seen significantly fewer instances of dog waste on and along the main trail since the awareness effort ended. For the health of all walkers and dogs, the preservation of plant and wildlife habitat, and the enjoyment of the land and trails by all, we are hopeful dog walkers will continue to pick up after their dogs.”

We appreciate the efforts of dog owners who do pick up after their dogs, and we hope our Red Flag Project will encourage all dog walkers to do so. Thank you.