Earth Day Clean Up

Earth Day 2017 for TU225

by Ron Marafioti

A very, very long time ago (Saturday, 22 April) in a galaxy far, far away (the Arcadia Management Area), 9 brave volunteers stepped forward to collect what others decided were uncollectable and undesirable to remain in their possession. The skies were gray, rain greeted anyone outside in an ‘on again – off again’ fashion, but neither wind, rain, or low temperature deter our Earth Day volunteers from collecting 10 construction bags of trash, including coffee containers (yes, DD won again this year), bottles, aluminum cans (yes, the beer race was won by Budweiser again), and random metal and plastic pieces.

Our hearty volunteers who showed up to do this worthwhile and necessary work were Al Ball, Gene Bates, Rich Benson, Lawson Cary III, Dennis Fortin, John McCall, Dick Waterman and his delightful wife, and myself. The only 4 scalawags who were too slow to escape the scene before a picture could be taken (our thanks to some delightful young ladies from the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) whom were also completing their Earth Day duties) are captured in the attached picture.

On a personal level, I must say that Earth Day leaves me with 3 distinct thoughts. First, the sense of accomplishment…that our ‘territory’ is cleaner than it was earlier in the day because of the efforts of the men, women, and children who endured the day to get this necessary cleanup done. Second, the sense of comradeship…that we are volunteers working together with people of like concerns to ‘clean up our mess’, and to make our Mother Earth a cleaner place to live. And lastly, the sense of frustration…Earth Day 2017 was the 47th Earth Day formally held on Planet Earth, and I have not observed any significant improvement in the decrease in random discard of ‘trash’ that simply looks messy, exemplifies an individual mindset of disregard for ‘where we all live’, further disregard for what our trash could do to animal, fish, and bird-life around us, and the apathetic attitude of ‘don’t worry, someone else will pick my trash up”. This sense was reinforced while a small group of us fly anglers visited the Pines the day after Earth Day to pursue our passion, and spent far too much time collecting discarded empty beer cans (WHAT, consumption of alcoholic beverages in the RI’s Management Areas is illegal!!) and soda cans, and miscellaneous paper products. I look forward to the day when I can highlight my first two senses above (accomplishment and comradeship) and delete my third one (frustration).

In the meantime, thank you to our TU225 volunteers for participating in Earth Day 2017, to the volunteers of other like-minded groups who helped clean Mother Earth’s face off yesterday, and to those who are readying themselves to start the Planning for Earth Day 2018. Earth Day is a delightful event for bringing people of like thoughts together, but in the end, let’s hope that the need for an Earth Day purposed as it is today disappears, and that evolving Earth Days are more like celebrations of the many good things Mother Earth offers us minions on a day-to-day basis. Happy Spring 2017 to all!!