Gov. Peter Shumlin today joined Agency of Transportation workers to pick up trash along a small stretch of I-89, raising awareness of Green Up Day, which will be held around the state on Saturday. Under Gov. Deane Davis in 1970, Vermont became the first state to designate one day to clean up the state. This year, about 15,000 Vermonters are expected to pick up trash along their roadways, in parks and public spaces, and other areas across the state.
"For more than four decades Vermonters of all ages have turned out across the state on the first Saturday in May to not only pick up trash and clean up the state, but celebrate the community spirit that is sparked by the Green Up Day experience," the Governor said.
On the first Green Up Day -- April 18, 1970 -- 4,000 truck loads were hauled by the Highway Department, comprising over 20,000 cubic yards of trash removed from the Interstate (which was closed from 9 a.m. to noon that day) and other state roads, and another 20,000 cubic yards, or more, were removed from town roads.
Currently, Green Up Day is held annually on the first Saturday in May. The Agency of Transportation distributes bags to regional district offices, which are given to towns for distribution to volunteers. Some communities have turned the day into a celebration, holding potlucks, music events and more for volunteers. About 15,000 volunteers participate each year, collecting about 40,000 bags of trash.
Last year, the Governor announced the Green Up to Recover Initiative to help the state recover from the damage left by Tropical Storm Irene. Green Up Day 2012 targeted the increased trash left by Irene's floodwaters, as well as other recovery projects in hard hit areas.
Young Vermonters, including organizations such as the Daisies, 4-H, church youth groups, and others -- have traditionally been active participants in Green Up Day. Businesses and service organizations also participate.