Always the first Saturday in May, Green Up Day this year is May 6. Volunteers come together to clean up litter from roadsides and public spaces to help keep Vermont green and clean.
Vermont’s interstates and state highways, totaling some 2,707 miles, are cleaned each spring by Vermont’s Agency of Transportation. Community volunteers through Green Up Day efforts focus on 13,086 miles of town roads.
“The Green Up Day event is a rite of spring in Sudbury,” said Larry Rowe, co-coordinator for Green Up Day in the town of Sudbury.
“Each of Vermont’s 251 towns carries out a Green Up Day in their community,” said Melinda Vieux, president of Green Up Vermont. She said Rowe’s remark rings true throughout Vermont: “This statewide effort galvanizes citizen participation and promotes a stewardship ethic.”
“It is a lovely time for residents across the generations to meet, mix and mingle,” said Hartland Town Coordinator Ginny White.
The first Green Up Day was launched in 1970 by Governor Deane Davis. It drew national media attention, with reporters coming up to Vermont to film and photograph crews of all ages, especially lots of kids, cleaning up litter along highways statewide and the interstate, which was closed from 9 a.m. to noon. Now the non-profit organization Green Up Vermont carries on the tradition, distributing over 50,000 Green Up trash bags, working with volunteer town coordinators in all 251 towns and providing widespread promotional messaging for participation.
Green Up Day is Vermont’s largest all-volunteer, statewide, one-day event. In 2016 over 22,000 volunteers came out in their communities throughout the state, collecting some 300 tons of trash and over 5,000 tires. Funding support for this undertaking comes from individuals, now easily able to donate on the Vermont Income Tax Return form Line 29, and anytime online at the Green Up Vermont website. Businesses also help provide funding, with this year over two dozen on board. Businesses not yet partnering are always welcome.
To find how to take part, visit Green Up’s website at greenupvermont.org. Every town’s coordinator is listed on the “How to Participate” page, as well as how to get Green Up bags, what to do with filled bags, any special offerings including breakfast, lunch, refreshments and even live music.