NEWINGTON - As the crocuses start popping their heads through the ground this spring, they donâ€™t want to see trash on it.
Newingtonâ€™s Environmental Quality Commission is hosting its annual cleanup event Saturday, April 27, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. The rain and snow date is May 4.
People interested in participating should meet at Churchill Park. Volunteers will then be deployed in groups to places around town where trash is prevalent. The trails on Cedar Mountain, for example, neighborhood parks, the parking lots behind Walmart and plazas on the Berlin Turnpike.
Following annual tradition, Newington Public Schools are also getting involved. Teachers have been given information about a poster contest, which they can incorporate into their classrooms. This yearâ€™s theme is â€śKeep Newington Litter Free.â€ť Prizes will be awarded for the best posters made by students in every grade level at all schools. Winners will be announced April 27, the morning of the cleanup. They will also be displayed during the Newington Extravaganza this summer.
â€śKeep Newington litter-free is sort of our motto,â€ť EQC member Michael Fox explained. â€śWe hope the posters can illustrate that in a nice way.â€ť
The Newington Chamber of Commerce sent a letter from the commission to its members, encouraging them to consider earth-friendly business practices.
â€śWe are asking businesses to join us April 27 by picking up around their sites and nearby wetland areas - and to consider bagging groceries and other purchased items in re-useable, biodegradable bags versus single use plastic bags,â€ť EQC Chairman Michael Camillo said in the letter. â€śTaking pride in our community every day promotes a community where businesses continue to thrive, families continue to raise children, and children grow into responsible adults.â€ť
Those who demonstrate their commitment will receive a â€śPride in Newingtonâ€ť insignia for their establishment.
Commissioners approached the Town Council about Earth Day activities at its last meeting.
â€śWeâ€™d like to say Earth Day is every day,â€ť Deb Krawiec told councilors. â€śOur long term hope is that someday we wonâ€™t have to come here and ask people to pick up trash. That we wonâ€™t need to have a big event. We were brought up to be more mindful, but I think weâ€™ve lost some of that.â€ť
Theyâ€™ve also asked staff at the Lucy Robbins Welles Library to feature books on the environment during reading programs the week between Earth Day and the litter pickup.
The townâ€™s Conservation Commission collaborates with the EQC to facilitate the cleanup.
Council Majority Leader Carol Anest had a suggestion for the group.
â€śWhy donâ€™t you start an adopt-a-street initiative?â€ť Anest proposed. â€śYou can assign streets to different groups to keep clean and make it an ongoing thing.â€ť
According to Fox, that is an idea the commission is considering for the future, after Earth Day is over.
The Simple Recycling program was introduced to Newington last year. Residents now have the option to recycle clothing and textile materials curbside on a biweekly schedule, the same day as regular recycling pickup. This is just the type of enterprise that energizes the townâ€™s environmental advocates.
â€śItâ€™s a great program,â€ť said Fox, who is happy to see the pink bags in front of homes. â€śI think itâ€™s going pretty well.â€ť
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.