Consider Joining a Cleanup for Earth Day
Next Sunday is Earth Day, celebrated each year on April 22. For many of us who live and work here in The Last Green Valley, every day is our own personal earth day. We enjoy a region that remains 77 percent undeveloped land dominated by forests and fields.
Earth Day is almost 50 years old and began in 1970 when America was mostly unaware of national and worldwide environmental concerns. Rachel Carson’s best-seller “Silent Spring” had been published in 1962, and it represented a watershed moment for what is today our modern environmental movement. Her book and activism raised our national consciousness about all living organisms and public health.
There are many online resources for information about Earth Day, but my favorite is the Earth Day Network, www.earthday.org. A quick exploration around the Earth Day Network website and you’ll discover Earth Day is truly an international event.
The mission of Earth Day Network is to “diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide.” The network grew out of the first Earth Day and today is the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. Earth Day Network works through a combination of education, public policy and consumer campaigns.
The Earth Day Network website includes 45 tips for celebrating Earth Day, and they can be found at: www.earthday.org/earth-day-tips.
The first tip is to join the campaign to end plastic pollution – a major concern worldwide and one TLGV has been active in for years by encouraging the use of reusable shopping bags to reduce the amount of single-use plastic.
The fourth tip is to join a local park, beach or river cleanup, and this is where TLGV comes in and provides you, your friends and family the perfect opportunity to celebrate Earth Day here in The Last Green Valley.
For several years TLGV has provided funding for community cleanups and as of this writing, we are supporting cleanups being organized in the towns of Thompson (town-wide for the entire month), Brooklyn, Canterbury, Holland, Mass., Hampton (at Trail Wood Audubon Sanctuary), Sprague, Chaplin, Webster, Mass., Groton, Putnam, Plainfield, Willimantic, Andover, Stafford, Killingly, and three in Norwich — Norwich Downtown, Norwich Free Academy and an effort that chooses a different town location on the last Saturday of each month from March to September.
To find out more information for each of these cleanups go to www.thelastgreenvalley.org and click on the “What’s Going On” tab, then the “Events Calendar” tab. To quickly locate the cleanups in the events calendar, type the word “cleanup” in the search tab at the top of the page. All TLGV-funded cleanups are listed, and if you’re interested in helping out, click on the specific cleanup for the time and the contact information. Please note most of the cleanups are scheduled for April 21, April 28 and May 5.
If your town or nonprofit organization is interested in hosting a cleanup in your community, you may want to consider contacting TLGV. We provide up to $500 for cleanup funds to be used for purchasing supplies such as gloves, trash bags, food for volunteers and so forth. Funds are available on a reimbursement basis; the application process is very easy and approval turn-around time is quick.
Your cleanup doesn’t have to be held near Earth Day, but you’ll still want to get your application in soon while TLGV has available funds. Visit the TLGV website at www.thelastgreenvalley.org/learn-protect/earth-month-river-clean-up/ for information about applying for cleanup funds.
Remember that in The Last Green Valley every day is Earth Day. The cleanups TLGV supports and promotes happen because engaged and informed residents come together to help their community. It takes a commitment of time, some labor and a bit of sweat to make them successful.
“Silent Spring” author Rachel Carson sparked greater awareness of the environmental conditions of the 1960s. Unfortunately, she died from cancer before the first Earth Day in 1970 and before the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency. For almost 50 years, Earth Day has been our annual clarion call to actively pursue a cleaner, healthier environment. The movement took up where Carson left off, and today it continues to be up to people like you and me to continue this important work.
I hope you’ll join me and others to care for, enjoy, and pass on to future generations our special place we call home. Let’s make every day Earth Day here in The Last Green Valley.
Bill Reid is the chief ranger of The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor and has lived in the region for more than 35 years. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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