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GROTON — What started as an effort to spruce up the town, prior to last year’s 350th Anniversary celebration, has become a new spring tradition in Groton. The second outing by the Townwide Litter Cleanup (TLC) group, held May 7-8, very well may become a yearly event.

“I would say it was very successful,” said Rick Muehlke of this year’s campaign. “We got about the same number of bags of trash as the previous year. Plus, we got a half container full of bigger stuff like tires and wheels.”

Enthusiastic volunteers, he said, not only did the work but helped keep the event going.

“Almost everybody who brought in stuff last year told me they wanted to do it again and that was one of the reasons we decided to go ahead with it for a second time,” said Muehlke, who chairs the TLC group. This year some 38 family groups participated in the campaign, collecting about 90 bags of trash, he said.

Further inspiration came from Westford resident Annette Cerullo, who organized a similar litter cleanup committee in her town six years ago and has conducted annual “spring cleaning” campaigns ever since.

Involvement by the local Grange guaranteed that this year’s event would take place.

“We decided to hold a second cleanup after the Grange became involved,” said Muehlke, who is also a Grange member. “Once the Grange said that they would sponsor the event, that pretty much decided it.”

After Waste Management agreed to once again donate the use of a container, “I was in a position to nail down a date for the cleanup and let people know we were good to go,” he said.

Muehlke thanked town officials and departments for their assistance.

“We could not have done it without the help of the Groton Electric Light Department, who loaned us real estate on which to place the container,” Muehlke said, “and the Police Department because they patrolled the area when our people couldn’t be there. Also, there was Tom Delany of the Highway Department, who provided transportation to get the bigger items to the transfer station, and Tessa David for publicity.”

Completing the picture was the weather, which provided clear, sunny days over the weekend of the campaign. That was in contrast to last year when rain predominated.

“The weather was beautiful,” admitted Muehlke, “but it cuts both ways. With good weather people have more things they can do but on the other hand, it’s nicer for the litter pick-up.”

Lessons learned this year will be applied to future events, he said.

“Next year though, we want to try to do more publicity; to get the word out earlier,” Muehlke said. “I think the model is probably the (Groton) road race, where they get out flyers about a month in advance of the event.”

With obvious enthusiasm for the project shown in town, Muehlke said the TLC would hold an organizational meeting next January, well in advance of the spring cleanup, to make plans for the next campaign. Everyone who volunteered for this year’s cleanup will be invited to attend.

“I think people have become a little more conscious about littering,” said Muehlke of the psychological effect of the campaign. “There are some people who have adopted sections of roads in town and I think that has put the litter problem more in the public eye. And what the TLC did last year has helped too.”