SUMMIT, NJ - Earth Day might have been earlier on in the week but many residents of Summit are going green 365 days a year.
On Saturday, April 25th, organizations across Summit held two very special events to help Mother Earth. Many volunteers came out in droves to help in Summit's City- wide clean-up at parks and woodlands areas. In addition, members of the community also sponsored the Summit Free Market Day; where items were exchanged for free in order to keep them from going into landfills.
The first event for the day was a volunteer clean-up held at several sites around Summit. Volunteers of all ages rolled up their sleeves and began cleaning up areas which have been polluted for years. Many members of Summit donated their time on a beautiful day to make the environment even more beautiful. With combined efforts from several clean-up sites, the people of Summit were able to pull trash and other items from heavily polluted areas and dispose of them properly.
Efforts to clean up Summit were held on both Saturday and Sunday, with vast amounts of trash being secured. Marjorie Fox of the Summit Environmental Commission, spoke about the items they removed. "Many items like bottles, cans, building debris, tires, rusted barrels, etc. were taken from the site. The clean-up at this site, Hidden Valley, had over 75 volunteers with a fairly large clean-up at Briant Park and Martin's Brook and a small clean-up at Oak Ridge Park." said Fox.
The day's clean-ups were organized by Fox and a group of other volunteers who donated their time and efforts. "We want to thank everyone who came out to help clean up our city." said Fox. "On May 2nd and 9th, we are holding more events such as GreenFest and Summit Free Market at Summit's Transfer Station." said Fox.
Some of the many items the volunteers found at Hidden Valley, behind Jefferson Elementary School, had been there for many years. Fox offered thanks to Summit's Department of Public Works for their support and the Mayor's Office, which donated 300 pairs of gloves for the clean-ups.
Patti Schneider-Smith, a volunteer for a year and co-chair of the Sustainability Advisory Committee, was among the many volunteers who came out to help organize the events. Smith was on hand to talk to volunteers about the benefits of clean-ups and how they impact the world.
Ahmad Shamim, a Summit resident and volunteer, was on hand at the Hidden Valley site with his family. "It was a great day. There is still a lot of work to be done back there. There's a lot of heavy stuff that needs professional equipment to be removed." said Shamim. Despite the hard work, Shamim was pleased to help out his community in the clean-up. "It demonstrates the amount of junk back there that has been neglected for years. We found the old "pop-top" cans that had clearly been back there for 20 or so years. It's a beautiful property back there and there is opportunity to build hiking trails." said Shamim.
In addition to the wonderful efforts of the clean-up's volunteers, another organization was holding a similar event at the Summit Transfer Station. The Summit Free Market was also being conducted on Saturday, which allowed residents to bring old items they had little use for and give them to others rather that see them way their way into landfills and dumps.
Residents were allowed to bring an item from home, that would have been thrown out, and leave it at the market for another resident to get some use out of. Many members of Summit come out to drop off things like old books, lawn furniture, TVs, old records and many older electronics.
Amy Cairns-Harrison, from the Summit Free Market Committee, is an adult mentor who was in attendance at the market. "This is a student run initiative which is organized by the students. We, on a shoe-string budget, promoted this event by internet marketing and sent out email flyers, with a great turn out." said Cairns-Harrison.
Among the several student volunteers and organizers, Richard Sun was making a huge impact at the event. "This particular committee has been active since October 2008. In 2007, I ran the first Summit Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Initiative, for which a cost was associated. This event is free to the public for exchanging items they no longer need. It's sort of like a free Ebay for the free transfer of items," he said.
Sun, who is a senior in high school, has been active in environmental events for a few years and was accepted to Columbia University to study economics and sustainable development. Like the thoughts expressed by many members of the Summit Free Market, he plans to work to make the Summit Free Market a permanent event at the Transfer Station.
The next event for the Summit Free Market will be held on May 9th, the same day as Summit GreenFest.
For more information, please log onto www.summitgreen.org to find out how to get involved.