It rained, sometimes hard, on Saturday, May 1, -- Green Up Day. That did little to deter the hundreds of local folks and thousands of statewide folks who spent a portion of their day cleaning up litter in the Green Mountain State as part of the 51st annual Green Up Day. Families, Scouts, school classes, athletic teams and others all filled those green Green Up Day bags.

The annual event has long been a rite of spring for Vermonters, but this year it felt different in several ways. First, there is the tangible relief that there is a light at the end of the COVID tunnel and that that is allowing people to get outside and do something together, albeit spaced apart, but together in spirit. It was an act that could be undertaken separately in safe pods of people, but collectively to honor each other and the state.



Second, it felt like a way to celebrate Vermont and all that it has been through during these many long months of COVID. Polishing up the roads, fields and byways is an appropriate way to show respect for the small piece of the planet that houses us.

Third, cleaning things up is an affirmation that we’re getting through this and that we are going to get through this and when we do our state will be tidy.

Green Up Day lets people celebrate the shared goals of keeping Vermont clean and the state’s commitment to the environment. It demonstrates a willingness for everyone to get their hands dirty and their boots muddy.

Green Up Day officials are still tallying how much trash was collected and it seems that there was higher participation this year than usual. A quick look around at the hundreds of full Green Up bags dotting the roads along with watching so many people participating in the days before and on the day of the event confirms that.


There’s no doubt that participation was high. Cleaning up is a way to honor the state and those who live here. Collectively cleaning up is a way to acknowledge that we’re all in this together – as we’ve all been in this together throughout the pandemic.  

Hooray for the 802.