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Pitching in for Earth Day

Locals lend a hand to make our roadsides a little greener

  • Residents have been working to clean up their own roadways in their local neighborhoods and down the state highways in anticipation of Earth Day today.
  • Residents have been working to clean up their own roadways in their local neighborhoods and down the state highways in anticipation of Earth Day today.
  • Residents have been working to clean up their own roadways in their local neighborhoods and down the state highways in anticipation of Earth Day today.
  • Residents have been working to clean up their own roadways in their local neighborhoods and down the state highways in anticipation of Earth Day today.

The snowbanks are melting, receding from the roadsides and revealing the newly-budding grass. And a whole lot of trash that has been hidden under the snow all winter. But those driving along the local roads may be noticing this week that there are also a lot of the iconic blue bags that are associated with roadside litter pickup, as residents tackle the problem in honor of Earth Day, which is today.

Bonnie and Baxter Harris were out on the roads on Saturday in Peterborough, cleaning a section of their own neighborhood. They, along with several of their neighbors, do an organized pickup every year around Earth Day, the two explained, but they also make an attempt to beautify the neighborhood year round.

“We walk our dog every morning, and didn’t like seeing trash on the side of the road, so we started to pick it up and bring it home,” explained Bonnie Harris during roadside cleanup on Saturday morning. “You have to take pride in your ownership of the neighborhood.”

Every year, however, the two do an even more thorough job of their assigned section of the road during the annual roadside pickup that Peterborough, along with several other Monadnock towns, sponsors around the end of April in celebration of Earth Day. It’s a tradition they’ve kept up for years, the two said, and although they still were able to quickly fill two blue bags to leave on the side of the road for town workers to gather, they have been seeing a decrease in trash over the years, they both said.

Roadside cleanups

Earth Day is a popular time of year to focus local groups and individuals on roadside cleanup efforts. Some towns, such as Bennington, hold a single clean-up day. Bennington held its clean up day, sponsored by the Conservation Commission, on Saturday.

Other towns spread the time by having residents or volunteer groups sign up to be responsible for a state or local road, pledging to hold a clean up for that road at some point in a week-long time period.

Today marks the end of Peterborough’s official annual Earth Day roadside litter pick-up, which ran from April 18 to April 22 this year. About 80 of Peterborough’s 90 miles of roads have been officially adopted by volunteers committed to the annual spring pick-up.

The town of Lyndeborough, through its Conservation Commission, is also hosting a road side clean up week, from April 22 through May 3 this year. A full listing of town roads that are available for clean up teams is available on the town website under the News and Notices Listing. To sign up to contribute to roadside cleanup, email a road selection to the Conservation Commission or contact the selectmen’s office at 654-5955 ext. 221.

This project qualifies as community service hours for students at Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative High School.

While most towns implement an informal road-side pick up in honor of Earth Day, this year will mark the start of an Adopt A Highway program in Jaffrey. Adopt A Highway is a promotional campaign used in the Unites States and Canada, which encourages volunteers to keep a section of a highway free from litter. In exchange for regular litter removal, an organization or business is allowed to have its name posted on a sign in the section of the highway it maintains. In Jaffrey, DD Bean & Sons, Peoples United Bank, Millipore Corp., Boy Scout Troop 33 and Given Masonry Systems have all already entered the Adopt A Highway program.

Volunteers are still needed to help with trash pick-up. Please contact Kevin Hampsey or Michael Grenier of Hampsey & Grenier Associates LLC 532-4336

For safety, all road-side clean up volunteers should wear bright clothing (“hunter orange” encouraged).

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaari.

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