On Saturday, May 2, 2009, hundreds of volunteers will roll up their sleeves and take part in the Regional Environmental Council’s 20th Annual Earth Day Cleanup at over 30 neighborhood sites throughout the city. Earth Day Clean-ups will take place rain or shine. REC Executive Director Suzanne Patton expects over 500 participants to pick up trash in this city-wide event that includes the areas of Quinsigamond Village, Main South, Piedmont, Belmont Hill, Vernon Hill, Burncoat and Lake Quinsigamond. “REC is pleased to continue our 20 year tradition of organizing Earth Day clean ups throughout Worcester, and it’s made a difference,” says Ms. Patton.“With great partners including the Worcester Department of Public Works, Wheelabrator, our longstanding lead sponsor National Grid, and especially the many individuals who volunteer, Earth Day demonstrates the commitment of the city’s residents towards keeping our city clean. With dwindling resources, the spirit of partnership and volunteerism that has driven Earth Day activities for the past 19 years becomes even more valuable on the 20th anniversary of REC’s Earth Day clean ups.” “Earth Day is such a great opportunity for all of us in the city to come together and do something important,” said Margot Barnet, president of REC. “We make our surroundings cleaner and more pleasant, make new friends, and get to know our neighbors better all at the same time. And it’s really working: every year we have more volunteers and find less trash! The city is getting cleaner through our efforts.” REC currently needs volunteers for pre-event tasks such as distributing flyers and making phone calls. On May 2, the actual day of the cleanup, volunteers are needed to field phone calls in the office, to serve as rovers between the office and the cleanup sites, and to work on cleanup teams. Dubbed “The Biggest Little Organization in Worcester,” the REC is a grassroots non-profit dedicated to building healthy, sustainable, and equitable communities in Worcester for over 35 years. At the forefront of environmental issues, the REC’s wide range of projects include converting abandoned lots into community gardens, training teenagers to be environmental leaders through the YouthGROW summer program, operating a farmer’s market on Main St. and spearheading the Worcester Lead Action Collaborative to eliminate childhood lead poisoning. REC worked with local residents to maintain strict mercury air emission standards for solid waste incinerators and passed a ban of the sale of mercury thermometers through Worcester City Council in 2003. REC’s strong advocacy led the Worcester City Council to pass a “20 by 2010” Clean Energy Resolution in March 2005, making Worcester the largest city in the country (at the time) to pledge to receive 20% of its municipal energy from renewable sources by 2010. Women Together is joining forces with REC to host a picnic lunch and celebration for Earth Day 2009 participants and partners after the cleanup, which will be sponsored by Worcester Common Ground. Contact Casey Burns at (508) 799-9139 or education@recworcester.org to volunteer for the Earth Day cleanup in your neighborhood.