UPDATED: Clean and Green: Shaftsbury rewards Green-Up Day volunteers

Editor's note: This article has been updated to correct errors. The Shaftsbury Recreation Committee does not receive $200 from the town of Shaftsbury to conduct the scavenger hunt. Shaftsbury taxpayers vote to provide $200 to the statewide Green Up agency toward its work. The refreshments and prizes for Shaftsbury's Greenup are donated. Also, a correction to the spelling of Shaftsbury Recreation Committee member Karen Mellinger's name has been made.

SHAFTSBURY -- Two hundred and fifty large green bags were collected in Shaftsbury on Saturday for Green-Up Day. Adults stuck to the highways as kids walked along side streets grabbing roadside litter.

Among other locations, people could pick up materials at the Shaftsbury Town Garage on Buick Hill Road. Kids were able to participate in a scavenger hunt as they filled their green bags with garbage. Small rocks with painted ladybugs were placed under pieces of garbage around the town.

"We hide the ladybugs in obvious areas where we know trash will be picked up," said Shaftsbury Recreation Committee member Karen Mellinger. "They can bring them back here, bring them to their school or into Cole Hall to redeem a prize."

An incentive that Mount Snow released in February brought some Mount Anthony Union High School students out on Green-Up Day to receive a free season pass for next winter. The program is called "Choose sNOw:" A $25 program open to 350 students that has kids attend two educational meetings on drugs and alcohol and participate in their local Green-Up Day cleanup in exchange for the pass.

Sixteen-year-old MAU student Kaitlyn Galusha said people should stop to pick up trash every day, but that it's nice to have an incentive. "I think it's a really good idea for Vermont to do something like this," she said. "We should do this more often honestly. I think if everyone took care of their community, it would be nice. But it's good to have a program like this so we can keep Vermont clean."

Galusha went out with three of her friends to fill up five bags on Saturday, and had her slip signed by Mellinger for Mount Snow. 16-year-old Josh Davis, who started snowboarding five years ago, did the same. "It is turkey season, so I'm giving up a little bit right now," Davis said. "But it's for a season pass and it helps the community, so it's worth it."

A Montpelier initiative since the 1970s, Green-Up Day is always the first Saturday of May.

The Shaftsbury Recreation Committee started the scavenger hunt in 2004. The town allocates $200 in an annual vote to go toward Green Up Vermont.

Mullinger and her colleagues went into Shaftsbury Elementary School to talk to kids about Green-Up Day prior to Saturday to promote involvement. They provided refreshments for people as they return with their full bags.

The statewide corporate sponsors this year included Green Mountain Power and Subaru among others.

Green Up is a nonprofit organization that works on a statewide initiative to promote stewardship of the natural landscape and waterways. For more information, go to www.greenupvermont.org.

Contact Tom Momberg at tmomberg@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomMomberg.


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