Vermonters were simply unwilling to let go of the 50-year-old springtime tradition called Green Up Day that spruces up our communities, even during a global pandemic. It wasn’t the same Green Up Day with community celebrations and barbeques, but volunteers throughout Vermont wanted to do their part for their environment, nonetheless. Vermonters used innovation and ingenuity to get the job of cleaning hundreds of tons of trash from our roads and waterways and it made all the difference – a job well done, a sense of normalcy and a feeling of being able to do something effective when COVID-19 was making us all feel a little helpless.
It’s a new spring and excitement is already growing for Green Up Day 2021, which will be held with all safety protocols, on its traditional first Saturday in May – May 1st. A big part of Green Up Day is the art contest and there were record numbers of submissions from students all over Vermont. Executive Director Kate Alberghini shares, “It is always a huge challenge choosing a winner and this year was bittersweet for a few reasons. The judges, David Schutz, Hale Ritchie and I had to work virtually through zoom to review the art instead of our normal in-person meeting, and sadly, we were missing Mr. Armand Poulin who passed away this past fall. Armand had been a judge since the contest was founded in 1980. Fond memories were shared of him during our review and he was certainly there with us in spirit.”
The 2021 overall poster art winner is Jiya Sekar, a third grader from Union Elementary in Montpelier. Her art will be used on the poster and marketing materials promoting the 51st Green Up Day, coming up on May 1st. Her artwork completely captures a happy and clean landscape that inspires us to keep Greening Up.
Green Up Vermont also awards the top winners in the following grade breakdowns: K-4th, 5th-8th and 9th-12th. The winners are as follows: K-4th grade, Elliot Kendall of Ryegate; 5th-8th grade, Ian Bernier of Andover, and 9th-12th grade, Jose Rodriguez of Pittsfield. Additionally, the writing contest also had a large number of entries and that category winner is 4th grader Casey Kendall from Ryegate. Each winner receives a cash prize, and their work is shared on the Green Up Vermont website.
In addition to the long-standing poster art and writing contests Green Up has expanded to offer a jingle contest, a video contest, and a graphic arts contest to reach an array of talent in our youth and get more students to participate on Green Up Day and in community volunteerism. “We love encouraging our youth to get involved, and we can’t wait to share the winners of the other categories!” says Alberghini. “There are some really talented kids here in Vermont, focusing on sending some really great messages about the importance of Green Up Day.” To learn more about Green Up Vermont contests, please go to www.greenupvermont.org.
Green Up Vermont is a private nonprofit that relies on the contributions from corporate partners including Casella, Subaru of New England, Greenbacker Capital, CCV, National Life Group, Co-op Insurance Co., Dealer.com, UVM Health Network, Lawson’s Finest Liquids, and Hagan Associates, along with others and individuals to ensure programs such as the poster contest and Green Up Day happen. Individuals can choose to donate to Green Up Vermont on line 23, Charitable Tax Contribution, on the Vermont State Income Tax return or donate online.
To learn how to get involved with Green Up Vermont go to www.greenupvermont.org. Green Up supplies will be distributed to towns in early April. Be sure to mark your calendars for the 51st Green Up Day, May 1st.
Writing winner’s submission:
Green Up, Clean Up!
Green Up means clean up
Our pretty state
If you are keen to make it green
Don’t hesitate, don’t wait!
Making Vermont green can be fun
Just grab a friend,
Put on a mask,
It can be a new trend!
Meet your friends,
All you do is pick up trash
It’s an activity
That doesn’t cost you cash!
Vermont has beautiful mountains
And amazing views,
There are so many
They keep making the news!
Foliage, maple syrup, and more
Skiing, boating, fishing, and fun
Cleaning up Vermont
Keeps us number one!
Vermont is truly the best place
And the best place
To make things green!
How long has it been?
51 amazing years.
Keep up the good work
So cheers, cheers, cheers!
Casey Kendall, Grade 4, Ryegate, VT
About Green Up Vermont: Started in 1970 by Governor Deane C. Davis, Green Up Vermont is a private 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to raise public awareness about a litter free environment, culminating with a statewide clean up event called Green Up Day. Always the first Saturday in May, Green Up Day is a statewide initiative where volunteers from over 240 Vermont communities and local businesses clean up litter from roadsides and waterways. Green Up Vermont will celebrate its 51st Anniversary this May. Green Up Vermont relies on the generous support of businesses, grants, and individuals to fund the organization. www.greenupvermont.org