Farmington’s 8th Annual Volunteer Cleanup in recognition of Earth Day will be held Thursday afternoon, April 22. Volunteers are seen clearing an area along Front Street during the 2018 cleanup. Livermore Falls Advertiser file photo

FARMINGTON — Plans for Farmington’s 8th Annual Volunteer Cleanup in recognition of Earth Day are underway with some noticeable differences this year.

Trash bags and gloves will be available from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday, April 22, in front of The Pierce House at 204 Main Street. The Farmington Downtown Association is assisting with this event.

Volunteers are asked to wear masks and follow social distancing protocols due to COVID-19 when picking up supplies and cleaning up. Everyone is welcome to participate. An area can be assigned or one may be chosen. Street maps showing more commonly littered areas will be available.

“We want to hit up the parks, there will be a crew on the Whistle Stop Trail,” organizer Jo-Anne Bean Palmer said recently. “A couple of families will be doing Mosher Hill.

“Farmington’s enthusiastic volunteers of all ages have gone out each year and cleaned up roadsides, parks and trail ways, picking up litter and “spring cleaning” the town,” she said. “Groups from local businesses, schools and churches, families and other organizations have made the annual cleanup meaningful, productive and fun. It’s been particularly great to see kids come back bright and proud of their Earth Day efforts and contribution.”

To add some fun to this tough year for many, Earth Day organizers will offer prizes for photographs submitted in the following categories:

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•Happiest Cleanup Volunteer Group or Family
•Oddest Litter Found
•Most Adventurous Litter Retrieval
•Silliest Cleanup Outfit
•Youngest Volunteer
•Oldest Volunteer

Area businesses have donated gift certificates and/or items for prizes. Received so far are certificates from Maine Street Nutrition, Twice Sold Tales and The Roost-Pub and Wingery, Bean Palmer said. Gourmet chocolates and popcorn from Wicked Good Candy and two T-shirts from The Roost are other prizes, she noted.

Farmington’s 8th Annual Volunteer Cleanup in recognition of Earth Day will be held Thursday afternoon, April 22, although volunteers may clean up throughout that week because of COVID-19 restrictions. Organizer Jo-Anne Bean Palmer shows off prizes donated by local businesses for the photography contest. Submitted photo

One method suggested for the cleanup is plogging.

“‘Plogging’ is a fancy word for jogging while picking up litter,” Bean Palmer said. “‘Ploggers’ are welcome to participate in teams or as individuals as a fun option for the athletically inclined—a chance to exercise and contribute to the health and beauty of the environment any time you are out.”

Because of COVID restrictions and potential scheduling conflicts, volunteers are also encouraged to go out any time during the week of April 22nd. Photos of those efforts should be submitted to Bean Palmer.

People doing cleanup outside event hours should leave their bags by the roadside and contact the Farmington Public Works at 207-778-2191 or text Public works employee Teddy Collins at 207-491-6530. Bean Palmer may also be contacted at 207-778-2200.

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Bright colors should be worn by anyone near roadways, she noted.

“Phil Hutchins, Public Works Director, has also cautioned that volunteers should not pick up anything suspicious or possibly drug-related,” Bean Palmer said. “Anyone who finds something like this should contact the event coordinator at the number below and properly trained personnel will remove it safely.

“Despite many environmental challenges on global and local levels, the simple actions of picking up litter and caring for plants and soil can be done by anyone, virtually anytime and anyplace, and make a real difference in ‘Restoring the Earth,'” she said.

The University Maine at Farmington Sustainable Campus Coalition is planning several events, including a campus cleanup during the week.

“UMF activities will be closed to the public this year,” UMF Interim Sustainability Coordinator Mark Pires said. “Due to the continued COVID protocols, we’re so sad that we can’t invite the public to participate in UMF’s Earth Week events on campus. For now, they have to be restricted to UMF faculty, staff, and students only. We all hope to be able to invite members of the public back in 2022 (keep your fingers crossed please).”

Those with further ideas on celebrating Farmington’s Earth Day, should contact Bean Palmer at 778-2200 (no texts, please) or email at [email protected]

“Suggestions and assistance are appreciated,” she said.

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