County Fare: Muddy Brook plants with partners for May Day

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Ward's Nursery and The Lenox Garden Club revisited their roots Monday at Muddy Brook Elementary School in Great Barrington, and also helped break new ground to plant a new red oak tree in honor of the recent Arbor Day and in celebration of May Day.

Sixty kindergartners and their teachers joined Ward's tree expert, Dexter Mason, and Lenox Garden Club members for a morning of planting, poetry and play time at the school's playground.

Lenox Garden Club Conservation Committee Chairwoman Lynn Edelstein said the Conservation and Community Participation committees of The Lenox Garden Club came up with the idea of teaching elementary school children about trees — planting and taking care of them. The organization visited the school four years ago for a tree planting project.

"We picked May Day so we could also teach the kids how to plant their own flowers and make a May Day Basket," said Edelstein of the recent school visit, noting that Ward's Nursery very generously donated the tree and the labor to plant it.

Each student got to add a scoopful of soil to help plant the tree, then teachers and garden club members helped each child to plant a pansy in a cup to transplant for the spring.

"This is a wonderful collaboration to support kindergartners' study of trees," said school Principal Mary Berle, "and to ensure our playground has wonderful shade in the decades to come."

Lee cleanup a sweeping success

Lee Greener Gateway Committee Vice Chairwoman Valerie Bluhm reports that more than 50 residents turned out Saturday to lend a hand for the second annual Lee Greener Gateway Cleanup.

The roadside trash cleanup effort, organized by the committee, sent 10 groups out to collect carelessly tossed litter about town. Participants included students from Lee Middle and High School, College Internship Program, a youth group from the Unitarian Universalist Meeting of South Berkshire church, Boy Scouts from Troop 3, and about 20 adults.

After two and a half hours hard at work, the groups reassembled at the town gazebo with 80 bags of trash and 50 bags of recyclables. For their efforts, volunteers enjoyed free pizza, drinks, and cookies provided by many local restaurants and grocery stores. Event partners included: Housatonic Valley Association, Daley and Sons, Athena's, Locker Room Sports, 51 Park, Starving Artist, Big Y, Price Chopper, Lee Hardware, and Carr Hardware.

Bluhm noted that several volunteers, who had helped out last year, said that some of the roads seemed cleaner this time around. They noted that some Lee residents are now adopting portions of their neighborhoods to keep clean.

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"The committee would love to see more community members get involved with this," Bluhm said, noting how these efforts also align with Gov. Charlie Baker's proclamation that April 2017 was to be "Keep Massachusetts Beautiful Month."

In an effort to keep Lee cleaner year-round and to continue to clean up some of the 55 miles of road not covered on Saturday, The Lee Greener Gateway Committee is sponsoring informal mini-clean up events on the last Saturday of each month from 1 to 3 p.m., weather permitting. Volunteers should meet at the Railroad Street gazebo.

Other initiatives happening this month include a composting workshop to be held on Thursday from 5:30 to 7 p.m., at Lee Public Library on Main Street, and the plastic bag and polystyrene reduction bylaws going into effect on May 12. Learn more at lee.ma.us/recycling-greener-gateway-committee.

Sprucing up the Village Beautiful

This Saturday, meet up at 10 a.m. at Field Park, at the Williamstown rotary connecting routes 2 and 7, for the kickoff of the inaugural "Great Litter Clean-Up Day in Williamstown."

The effort, organized by Selectman Anne O'Connor along with Greta Kipp of the Williams Inn and Emily Brannan of the Boy Scouts, ties into the "Keep Massachusetts Beautiful" campaign.

Yellow collection bags will be distributed at this location at 10 a.m., and again at noon, along with a list of designated cleanup areas. Bags will be collected by the Williamstown DPW following the event.

Volunteers are being sought to serve in one- to four-hour shifts. The rain date will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Registration is suggested by contacting Anne O'Connor at aoconnor@williamstownma.gov or 413-884-2598. Volunteers should wear mud boots or sturdy shoes, gloves, bright colored clothing for visibility's sake, and bring a reusable water bottle and snacks. All ages are welcome, including members of families, businesses, youth groups, civic organizations, and all individuals.

Info: http://keepmassbeautiful.org/event/great-williamstown-litter-cleanup/

County Fare, a weekly column featuring "tales from throughout the Berkshires," is compiled by Eagle staffers.


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