If you took a stroll through any Vermont town on Saturday, chances are you saw green garbage bags at one point or another.
You more than likely also saw people on the side of the road, volunteering their time to participate in the state’s annual Green Up Day.
The initiative is simple: Pick up as much litter as possible.
North Bennington resident Marcy Sprague had multiple bags filled as she spent hours picking up litter along the shoreline at Lake Paran.
“I walk here a lot with my dogs and it’s disheartening to see all the garbage that people leave behind,” Sprague said.
Sprague was surprised to see the amount of trash both in the water and on land.
Since its creation in 1970, Green Up Day has resulted in the collection of more than 24 million pounds of litter.
The Lamson family walked up and down State Fishing Access Road in North Bennington, disposing of empty cans and other litter they came across.
For 9-year old Penelope, Green Up Day is about helping protect the wildlife.
“Animals are really cute and I don’t want them to choke to death,” she said.
Her younger brother Joey ,4, echoed a similar sentiment.
“I don’t want animals to die because that will make the environment bad,” he said.
Along with helping wildlife, Green Up Day gives residents a chance to simply create a cleaner environment for the locals to live in.
“We walk on this road all the time, so we get the benefit of seeing it clean,” said Kate Lamson.
Green Up Day reaches beyond Vermont residents. Look no further than Joshua Brophy of Cambridge, New York, who spent the afternoon picking up trash along the perimeter of Lundgren Subaru of Bennington, as well as nearby roads.
Brophy works at the auto dealership, which served as the bag pickup and drop-off center for Bennington County. Subaru of New England sponsored the statewide effort.
Brophy said he enjoyed participating in his first Green Up Day.
“It’s pretty cool; we got a lot of people coming in,” Brophy said. “It’s a beautiful place, so let’s just keep it that way.”
Green Up Day brought out volunteers who wanted to improve the environment around them.
“It’s a good activity to do socially distant,” said John Lamson. “It’s nice to get outside and make your community just a little cleaner.”