By Anne O’Connor
PEPPERELL — For the past 20 years, crews of volunteers have turned out to clean roadsides.
And the parks, parking lots, rail trail, playing fields, conservation land, walking trails, stream sides and just about any other public place. This year the effort began April 16 and officially ends May 1.
The Highway Department loves the annual Pepperell Green-Up. It saves them a lot of work but they do their part too.
Crews will go around town gathering the bags of debris left at the roadside. If someone can’t do the clean-up during the official two-week period, Superintendent Peter Shattuck said they would still be happy to come and remove the bagged trash.
Dave Armstrong and his wife Ellie Maguire have been organizing the Pepperell Green-Up since its first year when their son was a Cub Scout.
A sign-up sheet and map at the library allow volunteers to choose an area of responsibility.
Orange trash bags specifically for roadside and debris collected from other public spaces are conveniently located below the map at the library.
The library is a great central location, Armstrong said. The folks at Town Hall help to. Armstrong said Peggy Mazzola, the administrative assistant to the town administrator, helps out a lot.
The low-key event is a good family activity, he said.
Cleaning the sides of the roads sometimes requires caution. “The biggest risk is people don’t recognize what poison ivy looks like,” Armstrong said. “Ticks. People have to be careful.”
A handout provides safety tips.
1. Use common sense. Don’t go out alone.
2. Choose an area that is safe for the ages of the volunteers.
3. Be careful near busy roads. Stay off roads with high-speed traffic.
4. Handle trash carefully. Wear gloves and be aware of potentially hazardous materials.
5. Work smart. Get help with heavy objects. Wear long sleeves and pants.
6. Be prepared. Bring water and snacks, a cell phone and a first aid kit. Don’t touch poison ivy.
7. Wash up, look for ticks, take a shower and wash the clothes when done.
More information is available on the town website: http://www.pepperell-mass.com/
Follow Anne O’Connor on Twitter and Tout @a1oconnor.