By CYRUS LEVESQUE
ADDISON COUNTY — As Green Up Day nears, students at Middlebury Union Middle School are keeping their eyes open for a visit from a local superhero. Captain Green Up, clad in a costume made from the green plastic bags distributed on Green Up Day, has led the charge to pick up litter and trash around the school for several years now, and this year probably will be no different.
“He always seems to be there when they need him,” said social studies teacher Peter Brakeley, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the superhero.
Brakeley, who helps organize Green Up Day activities himself at the school but mysteriously has never been photographed with Captain Green Up, has recently taken a leave of absence for medical reasons. However, he said that he will still be able to take part in Green Up Day activities this year. “I should be able to keep my involvement,” Brakeley said.
At MUMS, Brakeley helps mobilize about 300 middle school students to help clean up the area on the annual day when Vermonters help clean up roadsides and public areas.
Green Up Day began in 1970 to promote the stewardship of the state’s natural landscape, according to Green Up Vermont, the nonprofit organization that has coordinated efforts since 1979. Held on the first Saturday of May, over 40,000 bags of trash are collected annually with the help of more than 250 volunteer coordinators and over 15,000 participants.
This year Brakeley said middle school students will begin work on Friday, May 2, at around 2:15 p.m. The students are eager to help out, partly to get out of the classroom on a spring afternoon and partly just to help their community.
“I think it’s important to get students involved with community service,” Brakeley said. “There’s a lot we can do for our community, especially an energetic group of 10- to 14-year-olds.”
According to Brakeley, the MUMS students often manage to fill a dumpster with trash found in the area around Middlebury Union Middle School, Route 7, Creek Road and the Middlebury South Village.
Brakeley, who has been involved with leading the Green Up Day effort at the middle school for almost 30 years, first became interested in the topic when he noticed litter while walking to work from his home in downtown Middlebury to the school.
Green Up Day is Saturday, May 3. A list of Green Up Day coordinators, town activities, and the coordinators’ contact information follows:
• Starr Phillips — 759-2421. Contact Phillips to receive bags and to coordinate coverage areas. When bags are full, drop them off in the town dump truck, which will be parked at Addison Four Corners all weekend long.
• Jim Leary — 247-9595. Leary will be at the bandstand in Central Park from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday to hand out doughnuts, coffee, hot chocolate, Green Up bags and route assignments. When participants are finished, they should bring their filled bags to the transfer station, if they can, or call Leary to let him know where they have left them by the side of the road.
• Susan Highley — 758-2714. Participants can pick up bags between 9 a.m. and noon at the town clerk’s office. Contact Highley for more information.
• Sue Kavanaugh — 453-7976. Residents can pick up bags at a table set up on the town green at 9 a.m. Saturday morning. When they’ve finished greening up, they can leave their bags by the side of the road, where they will be picked up on the following Tuesday.
• Vanessa Wolff — 462-3138. Bags are waiting at the town hall, and Bingham Memorial School will also send some home with students next week. There will be a map at the town hall, on which people can mark off where they plan to work. Full bags can be dropped off at the truck in the town hall’s parking lot from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 3.
• Deb Healy — 475-2944. Green-up bags will be available at the town clerk’s office and on Saturday at the Ferrisburgh Central School parking lot from 9 to 10 a.m. If those hours are not convenient, call Healey to make alternate arrangements. Full bags can be dropped off behind the town shed by Sunday evening, May 4, as well as at dropoff points where Greenbush Road crosses Lewis Creek, at the intersection of Shellhouse Mountain Road and Fuller Mountain Road, and at the fishing access on Basin Harbor Road.
• Erica and David Sabatini — 247-6350. Bags will be distributed in the coming days and they will also be available at the town hall on Green Up Day. A barbeque is planned for noon on Saturday, and filled bags of trash can be left by the side of the road or taken to the town hall.
• Danial Sargeant — 767-3027. Contact Sargeant for more information.
• Davey Domina — 767-4490. Contact Domina for more information.
• Kate Briggs — 247-5305. Green Up bags will be available at the town shed/recycling center or by calling Briggs. Residents should bring filled Green Up bags to the town shed between 1 and 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 3. Each participant will receive a ticket good for lunch at a cookout that afternoon, and each ticket will be entered into a raffle drawing; Briggs said that prizes were still being solicited.
• Ann Kensek — 453-4314. Bags will be available at the town clerk’s office and at the Lincoln General Store. Filled bags should be dropped off at the fire station on Green Up Day between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.
• Peg Martin — 388-7697. Bags will be available at the Middlebury town manager’s office or at Otter Creek Brewery. On Green Up Day, filled bags should be dropped off at the town trucks parked in East Middlebury, behind the town gym, at the Recreation Park skating rink and at Otter Creek Brewery.
• Janet Kimball — 453-2675. Bags are available from Kimball and at the town hall, where on the morning of Green Up Day volunteers will be giving them out from about 8:15 a.m. to noon. A map is posted to keep track of which roads are taken and which still need to be done. People can drop off bags of trash at the town garage. If they see anything they can’t or shouldn’t pick up themselves, they should call the garage at 453-3263.
• Suzy Roorda/453-5978. Town residents can meet at the bandstand at 9 a.m. to register for roads and pick up bags, gloves and water. Participants can leave filled bags on the side of the road to be picked up later, or from noon to 2 p.m., participants can exchange their filled bags for hot dogs, while listening to a live performance by the Ridge Runners brass band.
• Elizabeth Orr/948-2194. Bags will be available at Buxton’s Store and at the Orwell Gas ’N Go. Filled bags can be dropped off at the Orwell town shed between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.
• Carol Kress — 759-7777. Participants can pick up Green Up bags anytime this week and next at town hall or at the Panton Store. On Saturday, they should meet at 10 a.m. at the Panton Store to designate roads.
• Warren King — 388-4082 and Steve Zwicky — 388-2301. Bags are available at the town office and the Ripton Store, the Ripton Elementary School and the town shed. Participants can drop off their filled bags at the town shed until around noon on Saturday, May 3.
• Christine Turner — 352-4778. Show up at the entrance to the Kampersville Storebetween 8 and 10 a.m. for bags, gloves and road assignments.
• Heidi Lanpher — 897-2244. Contact Lanpher for more information.
• Marcia Perry — 434-2462. Contact Perry to receive bags and sign up for roads. On Green Up Day, participants can drop off filled bags between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the town garage. There will also be a dumpster at the town garage just for sheet metal. If they are greening up state highways, people can leave their filled bags by the side of the road.
• Craig Miner — 877-2469. For information about where to get bags and where to drop off filled bags, contact Miner.
• Robert Popick — 877-3323. Participants can pick up bags anytime next week on Popick’s porch at his home at 498 Route 66. Filled bags can be left by the side of the road and the town truck will pick them up on the afternoon of May 3.
• Megan Sutton — 545-2475. People can pick up bags and sign up for a section of roads at the recycling center during its operating hours. When bags are filled, participants should leave them, along with anything they can’t bag, on the side of the road in a visible place. The town road crew will pick it all up on Monday, May 7.
• Becky Bertrand — 623-6325 and Tracy Simonds — 623-6087. Whiting residents can pick up bags at Simonds’ home, and full bags can be left on the side of the road or brought to the town shed.