Green Up Day 2014 a success

ADDISON COUNTY — This past weekend, residents all over Addison County got out their rubber gloves and green trash bags for the annual Green Up Day. While the tally of garbage collected is still rolling in and will be released in the upcoming week, event organizers said individuals and small groups cleaned over 15,000 miles of roads while the Vermont Agency of Transportation took on 2,700 miles of state highways and roads.
“It’s still early for numbers,” Green Up Vermont President Melinda Vieux said in an interview Monday. “But the feeling in the air is that it was very positive.”
Organizers from around Addison County expressed similar sentiments. David Rosen, community coordinator for Bristol, said 70 people helped gather rubbish around town as well as on several projects. The Bristol Conservation Commission, in cooperation with local Cub Scouts, cleaned Eagle Park while the New Haven River Anglers Association cleaned a portion of stream bed along the New Haven River with help from the Middlebury College women’s ski team.
While driving on Route 116, Rosen said he noticed an improvement in the form of dozens of bright green bags ready for pick-up.
On Green Up Day, Rosen said he encourages residents to informally adopt a stretch of road and to collect any trash they find while out walking.
“It’s nothing too difficult,” he said. “It’s a shame that we would have to do this kind of thing, but you bring your bag with you when you go out and it becomes second nature.”
In Hancock, 19 people worked together on Saturday and celebrated with a luncheon when they finished.
In Middlebury, about 50 people gathered for a post-green-up barbecue at the Otter Creek Brewing Company. Peg Martin, one of the coordinators for Middlebury, said the day was a success, with volunteers bringing in continuous loads of trash.
Martin also expressed frustration at people using Green Up Day as an occasion to clean out unwanted items from their homes.
“Unfortunately, some people use it as a time to clean out their garage,” she said. “It’s disappointing because it makes more work for people.”
New this year, Green Up Day featured a mobile app from the software developer Xenon Apps. The free software works by gathering GPS data from the user’s mobile device, compiling it with the data of other participants and plotting the users on a map to provide all participants with an overview of the areas that have already been cleaned and the areas that require more attention.
The app also allows participants to comment on the needs of specific locations with messages in a comments section.
In a press release, Vieux said the new app generated more interest around the event.
“The new Green Up VT app, created by a group of talented volunteers, got so much buzz on social media that it added a whole new dimension to Green Up Day, being able to see people take part in real time,” she said.
In Cornwall, Roth “T” Tall said he didn’t know of many people using the app, but the 50-60 volunteers were still able to clean along all of the town’s roads as well as the Cornwall Swamp Wildlife Management Area, coordinating their efforts by word-of-mouth.
“Typically, with Green Up Day you work with your neighbors so you know you’re going to the end of this street, and he’s going to the end of another,” he said. “It’s great because it enables us to have conversations with our neighbors we wouldn’t normally have.”
Editor’s note: The Addison County Solid Waste District early this week was still receiving bags and containers from the gathering points. A full report on the total amount of waste by type is due to be released next week. 

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