Even with the threat of a Nor'easter on the way, more than 100 volunteers came out to clean up Summit's parks and trails on Saturday, April 21, for the Summit Earth Day Clean Up. Stationed at five sites around Summit, scouts, families, and other community members worked hard to collect trash and recyclables, remove invasive species, weed, and lay down wood chips on trails. Here's a brief overview of the work done:

Wilson Park, led by PEP (Pride in Educational Pursuits) leaders Melissa Horn and Michael McCook and Environmental Commissioner Marjorie Fox with PEP student volunteers:

About 15 students between 5th and 12th grade and two adult staff members scoured the park and picked up trash and recyclables. They also wood chipped the art park paths, cut back invasive vines, deadheaded the daffodils, and weeded around the art park, as well as building two brush piles for animal habitats.

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Transfer Station trailhead along Passaic River led by Jeff Hankinson with students and Timberland volunteers:

Volunteer extraordinaire Jeff Hankinson led the students and adult Timberland volunteers collecting garbage, most of which was plastic and broken glass. A sizable amount of metal was also recovered, including rusty 55 gallon barrels pulled up from the river, an old air conditioner, a metal basketball hoop and a shopping cart. At the Mt. Vernon location they collected another 55 gallon drum and a 6 foot long rusted metal tank.

Briant Park, led by John Kilby and Judy Mandelbaum with scouts, registered volunteers, Timberland volunteers, and walk-ins:

A group of Brownies along with parents picked up trash and debris along the stream. In one hour of effort, they pulled a motorbike out of the water and filled numerous bags with trash. Two middle schoolers and their moms also worked diligently to clean up the same area for most of the morning. The Briant Park Conservancy manned the sign in table and the mayor stopped by to support the effort.

Adult volunteers piled damaged tree limbs for pick up, and then concentrated on vine cutting around the bridge and to the rear access walkway. Some of the vines were more than ten years old. There is still plenty of work to be done on the vines throughout the park.

Transfer Station trailhead by the railroad bridge, led by David Naidu and Patti Schneider Smith with the Kent Place Eco-Team, the Oak Knoll cub scouts with leader Derek Watson, and other volunteers:

A large group of volunteers cleaned up litter from the path, and removed branches that had fallen as well as old wire fencing and huge chunks of concrete pipe. The group filled four bags of trash and one of recyclables, and were amazed with some of the items, such as a wet, muddy knit blanket, and lots of bags of dog poop. They spread wood chips along the path, making the path more defined and raising the path a bit where it was muddy.

Martin's Brook Park, led by Ellen Purcell with boy scouts and girl scouts and other volunteers:

About 40 volunteers worked on this site. The leader and young men of Troop 1 of New Providence spread mulch and worked to enhance the main pathways through the park. They and other volunteers also spent time clearing branches from the brook, which were acting as snares, catching debris and obstructing water flow.

Brownie Troop 45271 sent 21 third graders who collected about 15 bags of trash. Most of the trash consisted of bottles, cans, and food packaging. There were also many dog waste bags, in the stream and out. There had clearly been a lot of dumping of yard waste in the woods and some dumping of whole trash bags. 

To everyone who gave their time and labor, a big thank you from the Summit Environmental Commission and the residents of Summit. And a special thanks to co-chairs Priya Patil and Marian Glenn for all their hard work in organizing the work day. Hope to see you all again next year.

By Beth Lovejoy, on behalf of the Summit Environmental Commission