Around Town

Volunteers in Westfield, Southwick sought for Earth Day clean-up efforts

GREATER WESTFIELD-While many businesses and organizations are being impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, the eighth annual Earth Day Clean-Up in the city is a “go,” according to Meredith Borenstein, wetlands conservation coordinator.

“Residents should come out because it’s important to our community and to our natural environment,” said Borenstein.

Earth Day 2020, now in its 50th year, was first created on April 22, 1970, to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward for the planet. At that time, organizers cited oil spills, smog, and rivers “so polluted they literally caught fire,” according to the official Earth Day website. That first Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement, and is now recognized as the planet’s largest civic event.

In the city, the Earth Day Clean-Up is planned April 25 from 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., rain or shine, sponsored by Mayor Donald F. Humason Jr. and the Westfield Earth Day Committee.

Volunteers are asked to meet at the Masonic Lodge, 72 Broad St. Children participating in the event must be accompanied by an adult.

Borenstein, along with her assistant Colleen Nunez, are spearheading the effort.

“So far we have interest from the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, but I am sure that as we get closer to the date more organizations will be in touch with us,” said Borenstein.

Borenstein added that city workers from the Department of Public Works will be volunteering to pick up the collected trash at the end of the event.

At press time, areas that have trash to be collected are still being accessed.

“We are open to suggestions as long as the sites have safe access points for volunteers,” said Borenstein.

Volunteers should wear comfortable, seasonal clothing, work gloves and waterproof shoes,” said Borenstein, adding, “for volunteers assigned to busier areas, we will provide reflective vests.”

Borenstein is hopeful that city residents will turn out in force for this community project.

“Most roadside litter ends up in our streams, rivers and wetlands and ultimately to our oceans,” said Borenstein. “Water quality, wildlife habitats and visual aesthetics are compromised by our waste. We have a moral responsibility to keep these shared resources clean and to care for our environment.”

To sign up to participate, or for more information, contact the Conservation office at City Hall, (413) 572-6281 or send an email to Borenstein at [email protected]

“We only have one planet and this is a good way to show how much we care about our surrounding landscape,” said Borenstein.

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In Southwick, a Trail Clean-Up is also planned for April 25, according to Christy Bannish, chairperson of the Friends of the Southwick Rail Trail.

Volunteers are asked to meet at the Miller Road trail parking area at 9 a.m. and bring gloves and rakes.

“We also have a Trail Beautification Day to help set plantings and mulch at the rail trail kiosks on May 16,” said Bannish. 

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