A flyer for the Farmington Public Library’s 2024 Earth Day Volunteer Clean Up is posted March 26 in a downtown store window. The library is inviting volunteers to participate in the 11th annual effort April 22. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

FARMINGTON — The Farmington Public Library will host the 11th annual Earth Day volunteer cleanup Monday, April 22, from 1-3 p.m.

Registration for the volunteer effort is suggested so organizers can track the number of people participating. Sign-up will be at the Pierce House, 204 Main St.

According to library Director Jessica Casey, bags and gloves will be provided for participants, but people are welcome to bring their own.

“We just encourage the members of the community to come out and volunteer their time picking up trash and litter,” Casey said.

Last year, 67 volunteers signed up to work around town and Franklin County.

Participants are asked to bring the bags to the Pierce House, where the Farmington Public Works Department will collect them.


There will be prizes and awards for: Happiest cleanup volunteers, oddest litter, most adventurous, most litter collected-group and most litter collected-individual.

Bags of trash lie April 2023 near the Farmington Public Library and the Pierce House after an Earth Day cleanup project. The Public Works Department collects the bags for disposal. The haul from Farmington Public Library’s Earth Day clean up from 2023. Library Director Jessica Casey said they gather everything up by the Pierce House and the Farmington Public Works Department takes it from there. Submitted Photo

The Most Adventurous award will go to those willing to go the extra mile to grab a piece of litter, like climbing up a tree. Casey, however, stresses people should only do so if they feel safe and confident in their ability.

The oddest litter award will go to participants who bring back the strangest piece. Casey said winners last year found a Loretta Lynn CD and a hubcap with a tree growing out of it.

This year’s theme is Planet vs. Plastics in response to the dangers of microplastics.

According to the website Earthday.org, the organization is “unwavering in our commitment to end plastics for the sake of human and planetary health.” It is demanding a 60% reduction in the production of all plastics by 2040.

Earth Day officially began in 1970, but its roots stretch back to the year before with the Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969. Reaction to the disaster prompted efforts from activists and politicians to establish stricter environmental regulation, promote environmental education, and set a day to honor the Earth.


Even before that, many saw the 1962 publication of Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring,” which covered the effects of pesticides, as the beginning of the modern environmental movement in organic eating and the “back-to-the-land” movement, according to www.history.com.

Denis Hayes, an environmental advocate and organizer of the first Earth Day in 1970, said Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin was inspired to bring the concept to life after witnessing the California oil spill firsthand.

Early concepts, like “environmental teach-ins,” were met with resistance from college campuses as many students were hyperfocused on anti-war and civil rights movements and saw environmentalism as a distraction.

To combat this, Hayes and other early organizers shifted their focus away from college campuses and focused on community rallies to promote major environmental issues and encourage environmental education at the K-12 grade level.

Since then, Earth Day has grown significantly and has adopted themes to coincide with the annual event.

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