Doug Allen, in the background, and Alex Jannetti add garbage bags to a large pile of trash locals gathered around town during the 9th Annual Earth Day Cleanup in downtown Farmington Friday, April 22. Public Works Department Head Phil Hutchins estimated participants collected around 800-1,000 pounds of trash during the two-hour event. Kay Neufeld/Franklin Journal

FARMINGTON — Locals and environmental advocates collected approximately 800-1,000 pounds of trash at Farmington’s 2022 Earth Day Cleanup Friday, April 22.

Over 100 people gathered in front of The Pierce House to pick up garbage around downtown Farmington, Farmington Public Library Director Jessica Casey estimated.

The event was organized by Casey with the Farmington Public Library and Farmington Public Works Department Head Phil Hutchins.

Participants were given a pair of gloves, handed trash bags and tasked with wandering the downtown to collect trash and litter.

Local residents, members of the business community and activists all gathered to help clean up the town.

Jeff Harris, President of the Kennebec Board of Realtors and a New Sharon resident, said “it’s important to give back to communities, always help when you can.”


Meghan McQuillan, who describes herself as an “earth freak,” said the event can raise awareness about “caring for our Earth.”

“Earth is our home, we have to treat it like home,” McQuillan said.

Kaitlyn Rosie, a Mt. Blue Middle School student, climbs a tree to untangle a plastic bag from the branches during Farmington’s 9th Annual Earth Day Cleanup Friday, April 22. Activists, locals and out-of-towners gathered to help beautify downtown Farmington and spread awareness about the importance of taking care of the Earth. Kay Neufeld/Franklin Journal

Participants went to great lengths to clean up the town.

Kaitlyn Rosie, a member of Mt. Blue Middle School’s Impact Club, climbed up a tall tree to pick the remnants of a plastic bag from the branches.

Rosie stealthily climbed the tree before Mt. Blue Middle School club advisors Denise Mochamer and Diane Thompson realized what she was doing.

Club members were concerned she would fall, but Rosie was committed, climbed with ease and returned to ground level with the bag in hand.


“I love your commitment,” a passerby told Rosie.

After climbing down, Rosie said it was “nice to get out and do something” for the special day, but that “Earth Day is every day.”

The event was also an opportunity for local organizations and initiatives to raise awareness about issues that impact the environment.

Farmington Conservation Commission Chairman Bill Haslam was present to “raise awareness about invasive species.”

Haslam was sharing information about browntail moths and emerald ash borers – both invasive species with an increasing presence in Franklin County due to climate change.

“It gets people out, looking at their surroundings,” Haslam said. “If people are looking for them, if we know they are here early on, we can do something to [prevent] their spread.”


Haslam said he’s already seen browntail moth nests around town, which will hatch in the next few months.

Isabelle Rogers, a member of the new Franklin County Sunrise Movement, was there to engage with the community.

Sunrise Movement is a nation-wide movement of younger generations advocating for climate justice and the Green New Deal.

Rogers said she felt the cleanup event “aligned with Sunrise Movement’s goals because it gets youth involved, addresses our environment and raises awareness.”

By the end of the event, a very large pile of bags had accumulated on the front lawn of The Pierce House where the event started.

Hutchins estimated participants had collected 800-1,000 pounds of trash – which the public works department was then going to bring to the town’s transfer station.

“Taking care of the Earth is super important,” Casey said while wearing a t-shirt that reads “There is no planet B.”

“We need to educate on the importance of helping the Earth … and show how much we care about our town and its environment,” she added.

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