TEWKSBURY — The Tewksbury Beautification Committee ran its bi-annual town wide clean up on Saturday, May 4. Over 200 volunteers converged on town common and then spread out around the community to pick up trash.
“It seems especially bad this year,” remarked volunteer Stephan Helmer about the visible litter.
Combined with the Open Space and Recreation Committee’s trail work, the event has grown and become a way for people of all ages to get involved.
“We have students who are earning community service hours, parents with young children, and senior citizens who are frustrated with the litter,” said Paige Impink, a member of the Beautification Committee. “I think people are becoming more aware of the impact that trash has on the environment, and how it affects the look of our town.”
Clean ups happened all over Tewksbury. A large map at the town common check-in site was updated as roads were cleaned. Community Services Librarian Robert Hayes led a group of people who cleaned up the public library grounds.
“We had an 88-year old volunteer with us,” he said. “It was quite inspiring.”
Hayes had partnered with the Beautification Committee to bring environmental programming to the library in the week leading up to the event, including documentaries and a recycling program presented by MassDEP. The program is available to view on the Town’s YouTube channel — www.youtube.com/tewksburytv.
The schools got in on the act, with teams from the Ryan, Heath Brook and high school tackling litter all around the properties. Bruce Shick and Jackie Stone led students from the TMHS International Club and their advisor, Sr. Dudley as they worked on trail clearing in Rogers Park. Over 20 tires were pulled out of the woods and will be recycled by Massachusetts Mosquito Control. Tires are a breeding ground for mosquitos and insect-borne diseases.
The Tewksbury Garden Club worked on town common and made sure that winter cover was brushed away. The group will continue their work throughout the spring on Muster Park, Wamesit Park, the town common and town hall annex. Jill McGinnis, who has been spearheading the rain barrel program, had a sample rain barrel for people to see.
Rain gardens, which circle Long Pond, are designed to collect and filter runoff, using native plants for drainage. Conservation Agent Stefania Gallo and Beautification Committee member Karen Cintolo led a group who cleaned out two gardens which had become overgrown on Whipple Road near Catherwood Road.
“These rain gardens are integral to the health of Long Pond,” said Gallo.
The Shawsheen River Watershed Association had a team of people working on cleaning the Shawsheen River. Led by Laurie Hartwick, volunteers put kayaks in at the Launch at 2000 Whipple Road. They removed monofilament fishing line, plastic bags, snack bags, and construction debris. The group plans another outing soon to retrieve tires and heavier wood that has found its way to the river.
The Lowell Assembly of God, located on Andover Street, picked up trash from Rite Aid on the Lowell line all the way to Speedway near the Andover line, all along Route 133.
“We are so happy to have been part of Clean Up Day,” said Pastor Caitlyn Harper.
The group worked as a team and had matching t-shirts just for the event.
Details from the cleanup are impressive; 281 bags of trash, 20 bags of yard waste, 21 tires, a sink, a tent, a shoe, numerous car parts and multiple fenders, along with a wallet, lawn signs, packing material and assorted debris. A survey conducted after the event revealed that nips, straws, plastic bags, cans, bottles and Styrofoam cups, along with fast food packaging and take out containers made up a majority of items collected.
One volunteer, according to Impink, collected 312 nip bottles from one street alone.
“A lot of garbage blows from trash and recycling carts, but the majority is just tossed out of vehicle windows,” concluded Impink.
To join in the next clean up event, contact the Beautification Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org