Sunday is Orange Up Day in Cambridge. It’s a hunting season twist on Vermont’s spring Green Up Day tradition and organizers are hoping this new event will catch on as well.
Audio from this story will be posted at approximately 11 a.m. Monday, November 23.
Many towns have instituted fall clean-up days – with varying degrees of success. The Cambridge Conservation Commission holds a Lamoille River clean-up every September.
And each year the group gets a $500 dollar grant from the Lamoille Regional Solid Waste Management District to cover the cost of waste disposal.
This year participation in the river clean-up was down, and Conservation Commission Chairman Justin Marsh said they were looking for other ways to use the grant money.
"So we were kind of just batting around ideas of how to spend that money," said Marsh. "and I think it was John Hayden, who owns The Farm Between, that came up with the Orange Up Day event."
Justin Marsh and conservation commission vice-chair Lucy Higgins said it didn’t take long for the puns to start rolling, like "hunting for trash" and "bagging the tires." Marsh said the idea came together quickly, at a meeting on November 10. He added he hopes the concept will catch on in other towns.
"It’s crazy how it just formulated in, I think like a five minute conversation," said Marsh. "It would be awesome if we started this Orange Up Day thing and it would be really exciting to see this become a trend."
Marsh said the Cambridge Conservation Commission already had the perfect logo in their Green Up Day files.
"We do a program with the elementary school where we have the fifth and sixth grade design a poster. The picture of the buck with the Pepsi cans in the antler was a losing graphic," he explained. "But instantly we thought we had to use this graphic."
The hunting season graphics and puns make the idea for Orange Up Day a fun one. But Marsh said the need to clean up Cambridge’s roadsides is the real point.
"It’s that time of year when there’s no green and trash is very visible right now," said Marsh. "There’s no snow to cover it and the thought of it underneath snow, and then it gets all soppy and gross."
Conservation Commission Vice Chair Lucy Higgins said there was some discussion about the risks of holding an event like this during deer season. However, she said, they’re confident participants will be safe if they take some common sense precautions.
"We plan to stick on main roads," said Higgins. "We’re not diving into the woods to dig out tires and that sort of thing. It’s really around town where we’re focusing."
She added participants should simply make sure they are being mindful and dressing appropriately. In addition, the Cambridge Conservation Commission is providing participants with bright orange trash bags for the occasion, so they know everyone will have some blaze orange on hand.
Volunteers can pick up their bags and sign up to clean a specific stretch of road at 10 a.m. Sunday at The Farm Between, which is on Route 15 between Cambridge and Jeffersonville. Full bags can be dropped back off at the farm until 4 p.m.
If the day goes well, the Cambridge Conservation Commission hopes to make Orange Up Day a new annual event.