Thursday, May 06, 2021

Local News

Town Hoping to Get Madison Residents Out for Annual Green Up, Clean Up

Spring is in the air, and that means there are a lot of people in Madison with just one thing on their mind:


On April 24, the town is holding its 37th annual Green Up, Clean Up litter pick-up extravaganza, challenging businesses, neighborhoods, organizations, and individuals to sweep their streets for discarded garbage and make Madison shine under the blossoming trees and shining sun.

Fran Brady, a former chair of the Madison Conservation Commission and president of BYO Madison, said the event, which last year did go forward in a somewhat muted fashion, is a safe and eco-conscious way to get outdoors and kick off spring cleaning.

“Last year, [the pandemic] was such a mystery, it was such a scary unknown,” he said. “[The event] is pretty practical. You sign up remotely, you go to a place that’s outdoors...There’s really little direct human contact required.”

The town is asking residents to register online or by phone, and bring the trash they collect to designated areas at either North Madison Shopping Center or at Memorial Town Hall near the green.

Town Services Coordinator Lauren Rhines said that as of April 8, about 50 people and seven organizations had signed up. The town is asking people to wear masks when they cannot social distance, she said.

Brady, who has worked closely with the Green Up, Clean Up in the past, said this year he was able to add the event to the official Earth Day map, meaning Madison is now geographically marked and identified to the world as participating in a global clean up effort.

“That’s pretty cool,” he said.

Otherwise, though, this year’s litter pick up event will look much like it did over the last few decades. In 2020, though the clean-up did happen, there was only one Dumpster drop-off available, no free gloves or bags made available, and minimal publicity, according to Brady, as officials were still adapting to the dangers of the virus.

Also last year, a plan mostly created and championed by Brady to expand the Green Up, Clean Up into a much larger Earth Day celebration even on the green had to be canceled, he said. It is still not yet safe to do anything at that scale, according to Brady.

“It doesn’t mean I’m not thinking of ideas,” he said.

One of those ideas would aim to involve the town in a longer timeline, eco-conscious project: a tree planting initiative ahead of Madison’s 200 year anniversary in 2026. Brady said he sent a letter to First Selectman Peggy Lyons just to introduce the idea, which is “way, way in the infant stages.”

The outline is that over the next five years, various civic organizations will partner with the town to plant a certain number of trees—200, or even 2,000—that would serve to mark the 2026 civic celebration, as well as help the environment and beautify Madison.

Brady said he has already reached out to a few local clubs and organizations, and hoped that more residents can get behind the idea, which would require significant fundraising as well identifying appropriate land.

“It’s complicated,” he said.

But just like Green Up, Clean Up, Brady said a tree-planting initiative could bring a lot of people together around the love of their beautiful town, as well as a commitment to keeping it that way.

For more information or to sign up for Green Up, Clean Up, visit

Jesse Williams covers Guilford and Madison for Zip06. Email Jesse at

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