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'Humble Bandits' cleaning up New Brunswick

When Peter Nickerson first began cleaning up the community in 2020, he went by the title of the ‘Masked Bandit.’

“I call ourselves the Humble Bandits now,” Nickerson said.

The name change is “just to kind of give credit to the people who help me out and support me. So it’s more of a we thing now then just a me thing.”

Humble, yes, but Nickerson is anything but a bandit.

The Humble Bandit has taken on the role of cleaning up public areas in the province. Whether it’s picking up garbage from outdoor spaces, or snorkeling in waterways, Nickerson said he does it to help protect the environment and people.

Nickerson cleans up “broken glass, fishing gear, the sort of thing that can be very dangerous with bare feet.”

One of the areas the Humble Bandits help maintain is the beach under the Smithtown Covered Bridge along the Hammond River. In the spring, the Bandits helped remove scaffolding that had fallen from the bridge into the river.

“I actually beat the company,” Nickerson said, referring to the organization tasked with cleaning up the mess.

“They were planning to come pick it up and everything, but I beat them by about a week.”

Part of the Humble Bandits goal is to change the mentality so everyone helps keep New Brunswick clean, Nickerson said.

“Litter bugs are always going to be around. So those of us that aren’t [litter bugs] have to step up even more so.”

“We’ve always heard the old ‘if you pack it in, pack it out. Well I’m trying to change people’s mentality to pack out more than you pack in,” he said.

Nickerson’s Humble Bandits group has also helped him along his own path towards healing, he said.

“Since I’ve started this I’ve taken a lot of weight off myself. I was suffering with depression terribly, so it’s given me a goal in life,” he said.

The Humble Bandits clean up work has also improved Nickerson’s physical health by getting him outside and being active.

“I share a lot of my health struggles on my Facebook group as well. And people can relate to that.”

“I’ve [tried to] inspire people in more than one way.” 

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