WEST BRATTLEBORO -- Stay green, stay beautiful.
That's the philosophy behind Green Up Day, a tradition started in 1970 by former Vermont Gov. Deane C. Davis. More than 40 years later, that single idea has blossomed into a volunteer-based movement that spreads its advocacy for environmentalism and cleanliness.
This year's Green Up Day is scheduled from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 4. Efforts are made each year to pick up as much litter as possible from the state's highways, fields and waterways.
Nancy Barber, the Green Up coordinator for West Brattleboro, has been associated with the cause since 2009 and said the movement is also about public safety.
"Picking up trash just reduces the things that could catch on fire and spread," she told the Reformer on Wednesday. "It's part of nationwide effort to make our country look beautiful."
Trash pickup in Windham County and in Brattleboro is coordinated by Becky Anderson, of Guilford. For the second year, Triple T Trucking will pick up any Green Up bags left at volunteers' homes on their regular pick-up day and Brattleboro Subaru on Putney Road will provide a pickup station for volunteers to get bags and gloves.
Kris McDermet and Helene Henry will staff a table at the Elliot Street Café and Barber will do the same on the green in front of the firehouse in West Brattleboro. There will also be a table at Brattleboro Subaru and across from the outlet stores near Exit 1.
Refreshments will be provided for volunteers at each table and a cookout lunch will be offered at noon at Brattleboro Subaru. There will also be a Dumpster at the car dealership, where filled Green Up bags can be collected.
Barber said Brattleboro is only one of many Windham County towns that have participated in Green Up since 1970, and many of the volunteers have taken part since its 2004. She said there is a need for a volunteer to handle the coordination of Brattleboro. The volunteer, she said, must be someone "passionate about keeping Vermont looking spiffy."
She said cleaning up the state is important, especially heading into tourist season.
"Vermont is a tourist state. I was on the highway, meaning I-91, and there was a whole crew of cleaning up litter," she said, adding that she did not know who the crew was affiliated with. "It makes a great deal of difference if a tourist drives through Brattleboro, or along Route 7 or Interstate 9, if there is no trash. It really defaces the landscape, in my opinion."
Stewart McDermet, the husband of Kris McDermet, is also a Green Up volunteer and wants to garner volunteers to help him clean up Whetstone Brook in Brattleboro on May 4 or another day if that is not convenient enough.
Barber said Connie Burton of Burton Car Wash on Putney Road will donate 100 percent of her proceeds between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to the Brattleboro Clean Up. Barber said Burton has done this every year since 2006 and it finances the movement's efforts.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.