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Fifth-graders help Source to Sea Cleanup

  • Greenfield Middle School 5th graders pick up trash on Eunice Williams Road during Friday's Source to Sea Cleanup, Sep. 22, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Greenfield Middle School fifth-graders pick up trash on Eunice Williams Road at Friday’s Source to Sea Cleanup. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Greenfield Middle School 5th graders Matt Garvin, Jayden Tyler, and Riley Pereira, put up a sign promoting environmentally friendly behavior on Eunice Williams Road during Friday's Source to Sea Cleanup, Sep. 22, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo



Recorder Staff
Friday, September 22, 2017

GREENFIELD — “How many friends picked up five things?” asked Superintendent Jordana B. Harper to 130 or so Greenfield Middle School fifth-graders, who were seated around a mountain of trash picked up during the first day of the Connecticut River Conservancy’s annual Source to Sea Cleanup. Every hand went up.

“10 things? 20 or more?” Harper continued. The hands stayed up. “What a difference you all made today. You’re inspiring our community,” she said.

Up and down Eunice Williams Road Friday morning, students could be seen crawling under bushes, reaching around trees, and walking along the Green River picking up trash.

“This shows it,” said fifth-grader Sora Bullock, holding a clipboard documenting items collected by a group of students.

“We got one tire; one mattress; one water bottle. We got six other plastic containers; six glass bottles; ​​​​​three aluminum cans; six fast food items; one glove; three paint products; one roofing material; and three other appliances. We also got cigarette butts and gasoline,” she stated.

In total, students filled more than 30 clear plastic bags. That’s not including a heap of tires in the middle of the mountain and a few plastic buckets.

Most of the trash found in Franklin County during the conservancy’s 21st cleanup event will be picked up on Saturday, when groups throughout the region will pick up trash around rivers and streams. But students Friday did a lot more than just pick up trash. Harper said they set a precedent for adults to follow.

During both cleanup days, thousands of volunteers will take to New England waterways across four states. Last year, 2,100 volunteers pulled over 50 tons of trash from over 127 miles of river banks and waterways, as noted on the event’s website.

“It’s an awesome activity, which gets kids involved in their community. It’s their backyard,” said Gina Fasoli, associate principal of the middle school.

“This gives the kids a chance, not only a chance to do something important — cleaning up the world around them — but they also learn to make (environmentally conscious) choices,” said Doug Selwyn, a volunteer with Greening Greenfield. Selwyn, with other volunteers, picked up trash Friday and helped students install a sign encouraging environmentally friendly behavior made by Franklin Technical School students, promoted by Greenfield Rights of Nature.

Throughout Friday’s cleanup, students were engaged, and voiced personal concern over pollution in the Green River.

“If we keep on trashing it, all the fish will die. And it’s also part of our water source,” Bullock said.

In light of that, the Source to Sea Cleanup “keeps our community safe, pretty, and all that stuff. We also don’t want animals to die,” said fifth-grader Anthuan Lienodiego.

For more information on cleanup groups in Franklin County visit www.ctriver.org/our-work/source-to-sea-cleanup/join-a-group.

You can reach Andy Castillo

at: acastillo@recorder.com

or 413-772-0261, ext. 263

On Twitter: @AndyCCastillo