Volunteers converge for A Cleaner Ayer and Shirley 2012

Nashoba Publishing/Mary Arata
On the left, Maud Goodwin of Shirley turned her attention to trash and debris along the water on Walker Road in Shirley. On the right, Jim Nehring and his daughter Anna Lise Nehring show off a sampling of the fast food trash they picked up along Ayer s roadside on Saturday.
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AYER/SHIRLEY – It was a bright and sunny Saturday for the fifth annual clean up of Ayer street scapes by bands of volunteers. The event has included a Shirley-wide volunteer clean up, too.

The central rally spot in Ayer was at Depot Square, organized by Ayer Recycling Committee Chair Laurie Sabol. The Ayer- Shirley Middle School in Shirley served as that town’s headquarters for the event, led by Shirley Recycling Committee Chair Dawn McCall.

From 9 a.m. to noon, volunteers delivered their bagged trash and recyclables to the central command posts. In the afternoon, volunteers converged on the Phoenix Restaurant in Shirley to enjoy a well earned rest.

Jim Nehring and daughter Anna Lise, 15, of Ayer worked as a team. Jim Nehring said he was disturbed to see the quantity of fast food wrappers and packaging that seemingly originated from Ayer food establishments, including McDonalds, Wendy’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Cumberland Farms and Dunkin Donuts.

“It would be great if they could be more aware,” said Nehring, who challenged the restaurants to be more proactive in snuffing out the litter stream and to become a more visible sponsor for the annual event. “They make a lot of money in the towns. We’re pleased to have them here.”

In Shirley, Kyle Spellman of Townsend used a hand truck to move a dryer unit onto a truck lift operated by Ed LeBlanc of Lunenburg. The two work for All American Recycling of Ayer which accepted electronic and large appliances during the event in return for donations which were given to the Ayer-Shirley Youth Drama Club.

All American Recycling President John Bacon of Shirley said the youth club is preparing its production of Godspell and that he was all too happy to assist in the event.

On Walker Road in Shirley, Maud Goodwin was a one-woman team, filling large see-through bags full of debris she gathered along the street, the dam and waterway. She said she worked on Horse Pond Road last year but wanted to clean up Walker Road this year.

“This is the way I come home and it really aggravated me” to see the trash, Goodwin said. Goodwin said she began work early that morning and would continue into the afternoon. She’d emptied her pickup truck one time already by the noon hour and powered on into the early afternoon.

The Saturday, April 21 “A Cleaner Ayer and Shirley 2012” took place a day before Earth Day 2012, which was commemorated on Sunday, April 22.

Follow Mary Arata on twitter.com/maryearata.