Vermonters were simply unwilling to let go of the 50-year-old springtime tradition called Green Up Day that spruces up our communities, even during a global pandemic. It wasn’t the same Green Up Day with community celebrations and barbeques in 2020, but volunteers throughout Vermont wanted to do their part for their environment, nonetheless. Vermonters used innovation and ingenuity to get the job done of cleaning hundreds of tons of trash from our roads and waterways and it made all the difference — a job well done, a sense of normalcy and a feeling of being able to do something effective when COVID-19 was making us all feel a little helpless.
It’s a new spring and excitement is already growing for Green Up Day 2021, which will be held with safety protocols, on its traditional first Saturday in May — May 1. A big part of Green Up Day is the art contest, and there were record numbers of submissions from students all over Vermont.
“It is always a huge challenge choosing a winner and this year was bittersweet for a few reasons,” said Green Up Day Executive Director Kate Alberghini. “The judges, David Schutz, Hale Ritchie and I, had to work virtually through zoom to review the art instead our normal in-person meeting, and sadly, we were missing Mr. Armand Poulin who passed away this past fall. Armand had been a judge since the contest was founded in 1980. Fond memories were shared of him during our review and he was certainly there with us in spirit.”
The 2021 overall poster art winner is Jiya Sekar, a third-grader from Union Elementary in Montpelier. Her art will be used on the poster and marketing materials promoting this year’s 51st Green Up Day. Her artwork captures a happy and clean landscape that inspires us to keep greening up.
Additionally, the writing contest also had a large number of entries and that category winner is fourth-grader Casey Kendall from Ryegate. Each winner receives a cash prize, and their work is shared on the Green Up Vermont website.
Green Up, Clean Up! Green Up means clean up Our pretty state If you are keen to make it green Don’t hesitate, don’t wait! Making Vermont green can be fun Just grab a friend, Put on a mask, It can be a new trend! Meet your friends, All you do is pick up trash It’s an activity That doesn’t cost you cash! Vermont has beautiful mountains And amazing views, There are so many They keep making the news! Foliage, maple syrup, and more Skiing, boating, fishing, and fun Cleaning up Vermont Keeps us number one! Vermont is truly the best place To quarantine. And the best place To make things green! How long has it been? 51 amazing years. Keep up the good work So cheers, cheers, cheers! Casey Kendall, Grade 4 Ryegate, VT364
In addition to the long-standing poster art and writing contests Green Up has expanded to offer a jingle contest, a video contest and a graphic arts contest to reach an array of talent in our youth and get more students to participate on Green Up Day and in community volunteerism.
“We love encouraging our youth to get involved, and we can’t wait to share the winners of the other categories,” said Alberghini. “There are some really talented kids here in Vermont, focusing on sending some really great messages about the importance of Green Up Day.”
To learn more about Green Up Vermont contests and how to participate in Green Up Day on May 1, go to www.greenupvermont.org.