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Green Up Day turns 50 on May 30

Vermont’s largest one-day volunteer effort was delayed by COVID-19

BRATTLEBORO—Better late than never.

After being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 50th edition of Green Up Day will be held on Saturday, May 30.

Normally held on the first Saturday in May, this annual roadside clean up sees Vermonters of all ages get outside and clean up miles of roads throughout the state.

Inspired by the first Earth Day in 1970, Green Up Day is Vermont’s largest all-volunteer, statewide, one-day event.

While Vermont’s Interstates and state highways, some 2,707 miles, are cleaned each spring by Vermont’s Agency of Transportation, Green Up Day efforts focus on town roads — 13,086 miles of them, according to a news release.

“Participating in Green Up Day is one small way to find some normalcy in our tilted world,” said Brattleboro Green Up Day Coordinator Robin Rieske.

She added that this well-loved community event “will help contribute to the physical, social, and mental health of Vermonters as much as their Green Up activities will help beautify our state.”

Guilford resident Becky Anderson has been a part of Green Up Day organizing since 1993 and says she is particularly excited this year because of the event’s 50th anniversary.

“There are so many people over the years that have made this event a success,” she said. “All the organizers in Brattleboro and West Brattleboro and other towns in Windham County have done so much to make this possible over the years.”

Anderson also singled out the local businesses and organizations that have done much to support Green Up over the years, such as Burton Car Wash, Triple T Trucking, Brattleboro Subaru, the Brattleboro Food Co-op, the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce, and Brown and Roberts Hardware.

One can pick up bags this week in Brattleboro at Brown and Roberts, the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce in Brattleboro, Brooks Memorial Library, and the Brattleboro Food Co-op.

On Green Up Day, participating volunteers grab the official bright green bag and fill it with paper, cans, and roadside trash (it’s OK to mix trash and recyclables for this event). Once an area is clean, the green bags can be left by the side of the road for town-wide pickup.

All participants are urged to wear a mask and gloves and to practice social distancing during collection. Bright clothes are recommended so volunteers will be visible to passing cars. Gloves and boots protect against dirt and ticks.

For more information about Green Up Day, visit greenupvermont.org.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #563 (Wednesday, May 27, 2020). This story appeared on page A8.

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