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Local Organizations Planning Special Events Around Earth Day



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UPDATE (Sunday, April 18, 2021): Due to inclement weather on Monday, April 19, Rotary Park Spring Cleaning has been rescheduled to its rain date (Thursday, April 22). See below for additional details.

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The pandemic is going to mean a second spring without a Newtown Earth Day Festival.

Dan Holmes, one of the lead organizers of the popular event, confirmed that news last week.

Speaking with The Newtown Bee on April 1, Holmes said spring 2021 “is just not yet the time to bring this back. Not yet.”

Last year’s festival was among the first events canceled when the first wave of COVID-19 reached the region.

At least two groups will be presenting events related to Earth Day, however. The Newtown Lions Club and the Rotary Club of Newtown are both in the planning stages for special commemorations of Earth Day. While the international observance will fall on Thursday, April 22, the local plans will have residents caring for the earth before and after that date.

On Monday, April 19, the Rotary Club will be working at Fairfield Hills, giving a spring cleanup to Rotary Park.

Then on Saturday, April 24, the Lions Club will present its longstanding Earth Day event, Lose The Litter.

Holmes said both events are endorsed and supported by Newtown Earth Day Festival organizers.

“We’re trying to keep the spirit alive, and keep things going on with Earth Day,” he said.

Rotary Park Spring Cleaning

Members of the Rotary Club of Newtown will be at Rotary Park on April 19, for their version of an Earth Day celebration.

“An Evening in the Park” will begin at 6 pm, and all are invited to join local rotary members “for some fresh air, fellowship, and a little physical work,” according to an e-mail shared with The Newtown Bee.

The park is off Keating Farms Avenue, between Newtown Hall and Woodbury Hall, where a flagpole was installed a few years ago.

Alex Villamil is spearheading the effort.

“The cleanup will be tied in to Earth Day that week,” Villamil confirmed April 1.

The event will run from 6 to 8 pm, and there will be something for everyone to do. Hand tools and gloves are suggested.

Rain date is Thursday, April 22. Contact Villamil at 203-223-3524 for additional information.

Lose The Litter

Lose The Litter will begin at 9 am, April 24. That morning, the community is invited to spend time along Newtown’s roadsides, which are in a sad state after another winter of litter and other objects tossed from passing vehicles or just left roadside during walks.

Longtime Lions Club member and former Newtown resident Gordon Williams is now chairing Lose The Litter.

He will be on the front lawn of Newtown Middle School with road assignments and cleaning supplies, including garbage bags and gloves, until 2 pm that day.

“I welcome people to contact me to register in advance if they have a particular road they would like to clean,” Williams said this week. “Also, if they know of other roads that need work, I would very much like to know that in advance, so that I can make sure those roads are covered.”

Williams can be contacted at 203-405-6392 or gmwllw@charter.net.

Schools are encouraged to organize teams, or even encourage students and their families to work together.

The Lions hope to see residents of all ages cleaning up the town’s roads that weekend. Participants can return to the middle school by 2 pm to drop off the litter they have picked up, according to Williams.

“If the people could dispose of the bag themselves, that would also be helpful,” he noted.

Lose The Litter was launched in 1990. The project was started that year by Judy Holes and the Newtown Environmental Action Team, which ran the program for its first six years. It was incorporated into Newtown Earth Day Festival when that event was launched in 2008.

Williams said this week that the Lions are proud to continue sponsoring the event.

“We are hoping there will be many participants who will help make our good town cleaner as we welcome spring,” he said.

A Newtown Earth Day Festival will not happen again for the second year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers of that event are coordinating efforts, however, with two local organizations planning related events before and after Earth Day this year.
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