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Green Up Vermont - A Vermont Tradition

03/25/2022 01:37PM ● By Kate Alberghini

Longer daylight hours and warmer sunshine make all Vermonters acutely aware that spring is just around the corner. As the snowbanks melt away, we welcome the sprouting grass and May flowers but also know that it is time for some environmental housekeeping. 

Since not all that pops out of roadside snowbanks is beautiful, and in fact, most of it is trash, Vermont continues to promote a favorite springtime tradition called Green Up Day. 

The Spark of an Idea

Green Up Day began 52 years ago. In 1969, Burlington Free Press reporter Bob Babcock, on his daily commute, noticed an immense amount of trash along I-89. He brought the idea of promoting a statewide volunteer cleanup effort to then Governor Deane Davis. A task force was created, led by Babcock and Ted Riehle, to plan logistics, and a date was set for April 18, 1970. Over 70,000 volunteers, including school busloads of children, scoured interstate locations, and over 4,000 truckloads of trash were cleaned up. Governor Davis called for the Interstates to be closed to vehicle traffic to provide safe work environments. Davis flew all over the state in his helicopter, touching down to encourage volunteers.


A Tradition for the Generations

It was a powerful year, one that sparked a cohesive responsibility of care and pride for our state that has endured for over half a century and continues to be passed down through generations. 

“Vermont is a beautiful playground for all residents and the millions of visitors we host each year. Our state relies on the good work of volunteers and this program to keep trash off our roadsides and waterways, keeping our environment healthy, our land desirable, and our businesses vibrant. Even through the pandemic, Vermonters were not willing to give up Green Up Day,” states Green Up Vermont Executive Director Kate Alberghini.


Influencers for the Environment

In addition to Green Up Day, Green Up Vermont works to build environmental stewardship year-round with educational programs and waste reduction grants and continuously looks for ways to connect community members to environmental care. “People of any age can be positive influencers for the environment. Green Up works hard to create this pride so that people will take this mindset with them wherever they go,” says Kate.

To let this tradition, and more importantly, the lesson it teaches our next generation of residents, fall by the wayside would be disastrous to our landscape and our way of life here in Vermont. Green Up Vermont encourages everyone to get involved. It makes an impact on where we live, and it makes you feel good to give back. Green Up Day is Saturday, May 7. 

Green Up Vermont

14 Baldwin Street, # 16

Montpelier, VT

(802) 229-4586 

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