Gov. Peter Shumlin was joined today by Green Up Vermont officials to announce the Green Up to Recover Initiative to renew volunteer efforts to help the state recover from the damage left by Tropical Storm Irene, being kicked off on Green Up Day. This year the annual clean-up event scheduled for May 5 will target the increased trash left by Irene's floodwaters as well as other recovery projects in hard hit areas. In addition, the Governor announced the generous $25,000 donation from Ernie Boch Jr., CEO of Boch Enterprises, to help with Green Up to Recover efforts across the state.
"I want to thank Ernie for this donation -- his second contribution toward Irene-recovery efforts in recent months -- which will help defray the costs of disposal for the additional trash we expect to be collected this year," Gov. Shumlin said, standing with Boch at a news conference at the site of an Irene-related cleanup site in Waterbury. "I hope other businesses will also step forward to contribute to the cleanup and recovery effort. There is still a great need out there for assistance in the wake of the August storm."
"It is my honor to be here today in Waterbury to join forces again with the great State of Vermont in its "Green Up to Recover" effort," said Boch. "On behalf of Subaru of New England, I am inspired and proud of the "Vermont Strong' spirit I have witnessed over these last several months. I strongly encourage all Vermonters on "Green Up Day" to volunteer in their communities to clean up litter from roadsides and public places, for the community of Vermont on Saturday, May 5th."
Other businesses that have agreed to assist with Green Up to Recover include Vermont Business Magazine, which ran a free advertisement to promote the event, Ben & Jerry's, which sent out 10,000 coupon offers, Casella, which promoted the event website in its bill notices, Jay Peak Resort, which is involved in community participation in Green Up to Recover, and the Vermont Grocers Association, which will help recruit volunteers in communities across the state.
The Governor's announcements today included:
The Green Up Day and Irene Connection. The State Irene Recovery Office has partnered with Green Up Vermont to incorporate Irene recovery activities into Green Up Day, creating the Green Up to Recover initiative. Green Up town coordinators in hard hit areas are working with Long Term Recovery Committees that were formed to help displaced Vermonters get back into their homes and town officials to identify hot spots of trash and debris from the flooding that still need to be cleaned up, as well as other needs related to the recovery, including yard work and plantings for flooded properties. Green Up Vermont is using the gift from Ernie Boch to pay for dumpsters and defray other cleanup costs.
Continuing Volunteer Effort. SerVermont is providing the opportunity for Vermonters to extend the Green Up Day spirit throughout the spring and summer by serving as the central clearinghouse to match recovery projects with interested volunteers throughout the state. They are establishing a website on which recovery projects being organized by local organizations will be listed, and where people who want to help can sign up to volunteer. Until they get their own system up and running, United Way of Chittenden County, which uses similar software, is providing a space on their website. In addition, SerVermont will be able to link affiliated volunteer groups from outside Vermont, such as church based relief organizations, with recovery projects.
Department of Labor "putting Vermonters back to work" initiative. Through a grant from the federal Department of Labor, in coordination with FEMA, the state Labor Department is paying unemployed Vermonters to work on recovery projects hosted by public entities and nonprofit organizations. Grants have already been awarded to various towns for work on recreation facilities, to an organization called Project Rozalia to field four crews of six workers to clean flood related trash from waterways and parks around the state, and to many other organizations including Food Works, Vermont Department of Forest and Parks, and the Green Mountain National Forest.
Clean up plans for this site on Route 2 in Waterbury: The hundreds of tires deposited in the wooded area adjacent to the press conference are an example of the extra clean up needs caused by Irene. Waterbury town Green Up coordinator, Lisa Scagliotti is working with other community leaders to organize a large group of able-bodied volunteers to gather all of these tires for proper disposal on April 28. Also, in Waterbury and the surrounding communities, ReBuild Waterbury organizers are planning to focus volunteer cleanup help in the neighborhoods that were flooded. They are calling this effort "Spring Clean Irene." The goal is to match teams of volunteers with homeowners who would like their yards raked, gardens cleaned out, adjoiningriver/brook banks groomed, etc. They will be identifying specific projects of lawn repair and silt removal to be addressed in the following weeks. The plan is to begin this Saturday, April 14, and continue every day except Sundays up until Green Up Day.