It was a tough winter, but the snow is gone and spring is on its way. Combine the warmer temperatures with Earth Day in April and it’s the perfect time to pick-up litter, plant flowers, paint-over graffiti and give our communities a thorough spring cleaning.
For the 22nd consecutive year Keep Islip Clean will help volunteers with all these activities as the local sponsor of the Great American Cleanup, which was created by Keep America Beautiful and is the largest community enhancement event in the nation.
More than 2,500 KIC volunteers rolled up their sleeves last spring and removed litter and large debris throughout the 18 hamlets of Islip. Many of these volunteers join KIC’s well-established annual Earth Day cleanups, and while these recurring projects draw hundreds of people, an even greater number of participants form their own groups to improve areas of their choosing.
For example, KIC’s 200-plus Adopt-A-Highway/Spot groups complete an April cleanup as part of their commitment to the program. The GAC is also very popular with scouting troops, civic organizations, school groups and families, all keeping a portion of their community clean and green.
It’s not just the size of cleanup crews that varies. Some people work on litter cleanup close to home, while others prefer to focus on waterways. Occasionally a litter cleanup is followed by flower planting courtesy of Project Bloom, which provides seedlings for KIC volunteers. Some participants separate recyclables from trash, while others remove graffiti. Schools often incorporate a Litter Tally Sheet supplied by KIC as a way to add an educational component to an Earth Day project. The list of ways to keep communities beautiful and the environment healthy is a long one.
I have an overview of the entire program so I know what an enormous difference volunteers make during the GAC. By the time all cleanups were complete last year, 1,300 bags of litter were collected. Sofas, chairs, tires, mattresses, shopping carts, auto parts and assorted other large debris were also removed from the environment. This adds up to more than 30,000 pounds of litter and debris taken out of Islip Township, according to estimates from Keep America Beautiful. And that’s just the litter cleanups. Remember that beautification, recycling and graffiti removal further enhance our towns.
KIC supports all GAC participants by providing cleanup supplies, acting as a liaison with Town of Islip services and offering general assistance where needed. We also receive assistance from Keep America Beautiful and their national sponsors.
If you would like more information about Great American Cleanup events please call 631-224-2627 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s join together this spring and Keep Islip Clean!
The largest events scheduled to date are:
- Islip’s Brook Street Wetlands Cleanup on Saturday, April 9, 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. (near Commack Road Elementary School).
- Brentwood Earth Day Every Day Cleanup on Saturday, April 23, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (meet at Ross Park at Brentwood Road and First Avenue, just south Suffolk Avenue).
- ITLA Shoreline Cleanup of Havemeyer, Sexton and Captree Islands on Saturday, May 14, and Sunday, May 15 (further details to be announced).
Editor's Note: Nancy Cochran is the executive director of Keep Islip Clean.