FARMINGTON – Organizers of the annual Earth Day Cleanup are planning a Together-Alone cleanup next week, in order to abide by social distancing requirements.
“With Maine’s shelter-in-place order, the annual Farmington Earth Day Cleanup on April 22 can’t be the usual team activity. But it can be a unique opportunity to make a difference and spruce up our neighborhoods and the town, together-alone,” Jody Bean Palmer, the volunteer coordinator for the event said. “On this 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, national organizers suggest we can clean up litter and do other projects to improve our environment and enhance healthy living, while maintaining safe social-distancing.”
Individuals, friends and families, appropriately distanced, are encouraged to pick up roadside litter, enjoy lawn and garden and other projects and post selfies sharing their efforts.
The Daily Bulldog will share photos, so anyone can see what we’re doing as a community, together-alone. Photos can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include where the picture was taken and who is in it, so that information can be included the caption.
In the past, about 50 volunteers have gathered at the Pierce House on Main Street to head out and spring clean the town of winter debris and plastic pollution. Others at their homes and businesses and have done projects in their own areas. Many local businesses have generously supported these efforts, which are documented to make a difference to wildlife as well as people.
While it may be hard to envision how plastic litter so far inland can impact ocean animals, Palmer said, roadside ditches usually run to a stream, which runs to a river, which ultimately runs to the ocean. According to plasticpollutioncoalition.org: “We know by now that plastic pollution is turning our oceans into a toxic ‘plastic soup,’ in which fish, mammals, sea birds and even zooplankton are literally choking to death. It’s estimated that 80 percent of sea-borne pollution comes from terra firma, and as much as 90 percent of it is plastic. But what about the plastic trash that isn’t washed out to or dumped in the ocean? Entanglement, choking, ingestion that leads to poisoning and starvation—these plague land animals too.”
To make a difference, no formal gathering is needed. Anyone, young or old, can put on gloves and head out (or start right outside their door) and make an impact.
Aside from removing plastic pollution and other litter, Earth Day projects range from preparing a garden for planting, starting a compost pile, starting seedlings inside, even discovering new ways to ‘upcycle.’ For example, homemade fabric masks are very needed now.
“Social-distancing may make working together different, but no less fun or important to ourselves, our community and our Earth,” Palmer said. “And maybe even help us feel more together.”