Ways to help the Earth shine

April 16, 2006|By JULIE E. GREENE

When Gordon and Janet Bartels bought a home in downtown Hagerstown in March 2005, they were taken aback by how much litter there was, particularly on their street, South Mulberry Street, and East Antietam Street.

Much of it comes from people eating as they walk back from nearby fast-food restaurants and drop their sandwich wrappers and soda cups, says Gordon Bartels. There's also other debris.

Elizabethtown East Neighborhoods 1st, for which the couple serve as co-presidents, asked the city for help in keeping the neighborhood clean.

The City's Public Works Department recently placed public trash cans in the area of Mulberry and Locust streets, Public Works Manager Eric Deike says. He also has been working on a schedule for all city streets to be swept regularly.


The Bartels have been doing some sweeping and trash pickup of their own.

With a broom and long-handled dustpan the city gave the couple, they regularly pick up litter along the sidewalk and the alley behind their home, Gordon Bartels says.

"At this point, we feel it's our duty to clean up what's there," Bartels says.

There are lots of ways people can get involved in cleaning up their neighborhoods and parks. Many of these efforts are held in April, home of Earth Day and the beginning of welcoming warmer days.

Here are some cleanups people can help with:

The City of Hagerstown's Neighborhoods 1st program is holding various cleanup efforts on Saturday, Earth Day.

They are:

Historic Heights Community Action Group at 9 a.m. Saturday. Meet in front of St. John's Episcopal Church, 101 S. Prospect St.

South End Neighborhoods 1st at 11 a.m. Saturday. Meet in the parking lot of Clover Realty at the corner of Maryland Avenue and Memorial Boulevard.

National Youth Day of Service, sponsored by Washington County Public Schools' service-learning program and United Way of Washington County. 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Begins with a rally at University Plaza on West Washington Street. People are going to clean up alleys and sidewalks and go door-to-door to promote the city's recycling services.

People are encouraged to bring their own gloves. The city will provide trash bags.

For more information about these cleanup efforts, call Shelli Dronsfield, community development coordinator, at 301-739-8577, ext. 191, or go to

Volunteers will be helping the City of Hagerstown's Parks and Recreation Department clean up Fairgrounds Park on Tuesday, April 18. About 60 volunteers are expected, says Junior Mason, parks superintendent.

Mason also will have employees working that day to clean Pangborn Park and City Park.

People interested in helping out at either of the three parks are asked to call the parks department at 301-739-8577, ext. 171. They will be supplied with gloves, rakes, trash bags, brooms and other supplies. Work includes picking up trash, weeding and possibly raking mulch.

Maryland State Highway Administration's Adopt-A-Highway Program. Volunteer groups of 10 to 12 people can adopt a stretch of a state highway, agreeing to pick up litter four times a year for two years.

Starts with a safety training session. SHA provides reflective yellowish green vests, hats, trash bags, gloves and signs.

For more information, call 301-791-4790.

Antietam National Battlefield and other national parks have an annual Park Day, typically in early April, during which volunteers help pick up trash and work on other projects such as clearing unwanted vegetation. Park Day was held earlier this month.

Call the visitors center at the particular national park for more details.

Antietam also has occasional volunteer projects. Volunteers can assist. For more information, call 301-432-2243.

Washington Monument in Boonsboro and South Mountain State Battlefield in Washington and Frederick counties also have an annual Park Day, which typically occurs in early April. This involves picking up trash and other projects. Park Day was held earlier this month.

In addition, if a group wants to make arrangements to pick up trash at either of those parks or Greenbrier State Park or Gathland State Park, call Greenbrier at 301-791-4767.

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