Did you know that steel is the “traditional” 11-year anniversary gift? Back in 2005, when I was first appointed to the Summit Environmental Commission, we did not have an annual Earth Day Celebration, and you could easily find tons of steel, glass, aluminum and other debris littering open spaces in Summit. Soon after, I proposed the goal of creating an annual event for individuals and organizations to celebrate Earth Day with clean-up events at parks and green spaces throughout Summit.  

Fast forward past some organizing and collaboration to 2007 when the Environmental Commission kicked off the first City-Wide Earth Day Clean Up. On one single weekend, with help and participation of scout troops, school groups, and community organizations, clean ups took place at Passaic River Park, the property surrounding the Transfer Station, Briant Park, and Martin’s Brook Park.  

That first clean-up, with over 150 participants, removed over 5 tons of trash, metal, glass and other recyclables. In 2008, on top of the clean-up, we installed donated plants at Wilson Park, and wood-chipped the Wilson Park trails -- which was a huge hit with the kids! By 2010, event grew to over 300 participants, and we added new clean up locations, including Hidden Valley Park by Jefferson School, the Village Green and Mabee Park.

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For the past 3 years, Beth Lovejoy, Chair of the Environmental Commission, has done a terrific job continuing to spearhead the Earth Day Clean Up efforts. After 11 years of clean ups, the amount of trash and recyclables to be cleaned up has decreased to approximately one ton each year. Happily, the focus of the Clean Up has been able to shift to wood-chipping and maintaining trails, and removing invasive plant species.   

Join us for this year’s 11th Annual Clean Up on Saturday, April 22 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m..   

Interested volunteer groups should contact Beth at beth.t.lovejoy@gmail.com to register. Individuals who would like to volunteer do not need to register and can go to Briant Park or Martin’s Brook Park.

Marjorie Fox, Candidate for Summit Common Council, Ward 2