Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thank You Hotchkiss!

Back in the spring of 1999, I became aware of something which I find to be something very special which the students and staff of The Hotchkiss School give back to our communities, and to our earth. I remember this time of year well because my kids were out doing it as well each of their years there . They all picked up trash along the roads to celebrate Earth Day. 
 It's Earth Day, or very near to it, and the Hotchkiss kids just showed up in the parking lot here in Sharon. It's after 2 pm, so that means they've probably been on the pick-up detail since about 10 am or so this morning. They break up into groups and they man themselves with bright orange vests for safety, gloves and trash bags and off they go. They do Route 41 all the way from the school to Sharon, (five miles) and into Lakeville as well, picking up trash on both sides of the road. And 112, east and west. And 44 thru Lakeville to Salisbury I believe, and west to the state line. I think they may even go right into Millerton to Cumby's, but I am not sure. What a give back! As I look out my front window,  I see two huge plastic bags of trash waiting by the post office to be picked up by the Hotchkiss maintenance crew who'll follow along later and gather up what the kids pick-up, filling multiple trucks to overflow stage. And the roads are not all they do. I remember that they work at the transfer station cleaning up debris which blows into the woods there in all directions. And I know they also go out and do special projects like cutting honey-suckle vines where they are overgrowing trees and trails on the grounds at the school.
I don't know if they have ever weighed or done an estimate on how much trash they gather from their pick-up, but it must be just an amazing amount. What do you think....a thousand pounds sound right? Perhaps more? I really don't know. I just remember seeing one truck stacked so high with bags of rubbish last year, I was amazed. And I later learned that was just one of numerous loads they had gathered up.
So I just wanted to take a second to say "thank you" to The Hotchkiss School for teaching these students about the need to take care of Mother Earth. Seeing what good they do in the roads they cover makes me wonder isn't it too bad the Housy kids don't do the same in the Falls Village area, and the Kent Prep kids in their area as well. Maybe they do. I hope so. It's such a message for all of us, if we just take the time to listen.
I can't do my walk tomorrow morning before work due to a conflict, but you can bet next Monday morning I am going out with a bag and some gloves, and I am going to do Jackson  and Lucas. It all helps, right? Right!


  1. You think they had been working since 10 AM? Actually, the kids start working at 1 PM and end around 3 PM.

  2. well, there ya' go! I thought they started much earlier! If anon. is right, then its show s what I knew. So we'll forget the time frame, They still did a good thing!

  3. The entire day is devoted to "Earth Day". The honeysuckle/trash collection etc. started at 12.15 and went until 3.30pm.

  4. Thanks for your thoughtful support. All of the students and faculty and some staff do these community service clean up projects as part of a full day-long observance of Earth Day. There are lectures, dorm discussions, and a community wide project. The actual work time on the roads and honeysuckle (and this year they also planted in some community gardens and in our own new campus garden)extended from 12:30 PM to about 3:00. As a faculty member I was one of the ones driving a truck to pick up the bags of trash (not to mention the other items tossed along the roadside which were part of the haul). On my route, we picked up from the baseball field in Sharon Valley to the Hotchkiss campus and also from beyond Town Hill Farm on Route 112 to Route 44. Another truck picked up from groups that went to Millerton and to Salisbury. You will remember that we had a cold, rainy, blustery day this year so I suspect we worked a little faster than we usually do, but I can assure you there was a very full, very big dumpster of trash at the end of our day. Thanks again for your support of the work done by these students and adults.