Volunteers turn out for Community Cleanup Day

On Saturday, April 23, volunteers from the Ell Pond Committee, the Unitarian Universalist Church, the Melrose Recycling Committee, and other organizations turned out in solid numbers to clean up the pond and other public areas in the city, including the nearby Middle School and High School grounds. A light drizzle that turned into a steadier rain about mid-morning was not enough to keep these dedicated volunteers at home, and the result was a more attractive visual experience at the pond and other locations.

Actually, the Melrose Girl Scouts got the jump on Community Cleanup Day one week earlier. More than 30 scouts from troops 68049, 62900, 62846, 62853, and 76245, led by Brownie troop 69008, executed a cleanup and beautification of Bowden Park on Saturday, April 16. In addition to picking up trash, the scouts planted annual flowers in pinks, whites, and purples inside the Girl Scout “Friendship Circle,” an area donated by the Girl Scouts. The scouts also picked up sticks and leaves and planted annual flowers and bulbs in other parts of the park, including around a tree dedicated to the late Melrose Girl Scout leader Bev Mara. Visitors to Sally Frank’s Farmers Market at the park, beginning in June, will certainly appreciate the work done by the scouts. Well done, ladies!

On April 23, Ell Pond cleanup volunteers gathered at the Knoll and began the job of picking up trash all around the pond, cleaning up brush, and engaging in some invasive species removal. The Ell Pond Navy (two intrepid young women in their kayaks) took to the water to pick up trash in areas that were less accessible from the shore. Among their collection: at least two tires and a bicycle frame. IMG_9816The Ell Pond Committee also engaged in some new plantings, including holly and cedar trees near the Dog Park.

Other volunteers also gathered at the Knoll and fanned out to tackle the mess at some of the other public spaces in the town. A small team went to the Common, while others cleaned up the Skate Park, the Crystal Street tennis courts, and the Knoll itself.

A big task was the cleanup of the High School and Middle School grounds. While the number of discarded plastic bottles appeared to be down from the cleanups undertaken in years past, there were still areas of concern. Special thanks should go to the team of volunteers that spent about two hours removing a large volume of trash from the small marsh that separates the Middle School from the ball fields. That was one wet, dirty job!IMG_9796

Altogether, enough trash was picked up during the morning event to fill at least one DPW dump truck. A walk around the pond the next day, during which about a dozen turtles were spotted sunning on a log, yellow-rumped warblers darted through the trees, and a bald eagle and red-tailed hawk were seen soaring overhead, demonstrated that the cleanup effort was well worth it.

Another hike on Sunday, in the Towner’s Pond area, showed that the cleanup job in our city is far from done. The Towner’s Pond trail is a lovely walk, with leaves just now unfolding and birds such as warblers, vireos, and thrushes returning from the south. Towner's Pond Trail 4-24-16At one point on the trail, however, the hikers encountered the remains of a major beer party, with hundreds of cans strewn about. A task for another day. Perhaps those who enjoyed the party could be encouraged to clean up after themselves?


Community Cleanup on April 23

On Saturday April 23rd from 9am to noon, the Ell Pond Committee, in collaboration with the Melrose Recycling Committee and the Melrose Unitarian Church, will sponsor its annual cleanup and restoration day at the Memorial Knoll shoreline across from the middle school.


The Recycling Committee had originally scheduled a cleanup of the Ell Pond area, the Middle School and High School grounds, and other public spaces on the MLK Day of Service in January. Four inches of snow the night before forced a postponement.

Realizing that the Ell Pond Committee conducts its own cleanup of the pond area each spring, the Recycling Committee approached its fellow Sustainable Melrose member group and proposed a coordination of their efforts. The result is the April 23 event.

At Ell Pond, volunteers can assist in shrub planting, invasive species removal, riparian no-mow fencing, litter pick-up and other activities. Volunteers should bring work gloves and yard tools. Canoes and kayaks are encouraged this year to help with hard-to-reach areas like the Main Street shoreline.

The Recycling Committee will be providing plastic gloves and trash bags and will be leading groups to clean up other public spaces in Melrose, such as the Middle School and the High School grounds and, if enough volunteers show up, the Common.


Refreshments and pizza will be served afterwards at the Knoll. The rain date for the event will be Sunday May 1.

Both the Ell Pond Committee and the Recycling Committee (melrecyclingcommittee.wordpress.com/) meet the first Thursday of every month, typically at the library.  New members for both groups are welcome; call 781-526-7383 (Ell Pond Committee) or 781-775-5058 (Recycling Committee) for more information.