FARMINGTON — Farmington resident Annie Bean Palmer wanted to clean up downtown streets for Earth Day three years ago but found there was no organized event.

So she created one.

She asked the Downtown Business Association to find out if there was interest and got a resounding yes.

“Earth Day is something that everybody can agree on,” Bean Palmer said. “It’s wonderful to have that cooperation.”

This year, she is not alone. The University of Maine at Farmington and the town Parks and Recreation Department also are hosting Earth Day events in an effort to create a townwide message of environmental awareness.

The combined effort will finish off with a party for all volunteers at Hippach Field.


Farmington, “nestled into the western mountains of Maine, has a strong identification with the environment,” said Luke Kellett, UMF’s sustainability coordinator. “There is sort of this seamless linkage between the individual students, to the campus, to the town and the greater public, that Earth Day embodies what we all hold as important.”

Bean Palmer said the downtown cleanup has “really expanded.”

It started with about 20 volunteers in the first year and had 40 last year. She said she expects the turnout to be even higher this year.

“Each year its been bigger and bigger,” she said.

Earth Day, a global event that began in 1970 and now is coordinated by the Earth Day Network, is celebrated by more than 1 billion people worldwide. Events in central Maine include a town cleanup and trail maintenance effort in Unity and electronic waste collection in Waterville.

The Farmington downtown cleanup will be held from 1 to 3 p.m., and volunteers will meet at the Pierce House on Main Street to sign up and get gloves and bags, which are donated by the local Reny’s department store. In the past, Bean Palmer said, UMF students have provided support with the downtown cleanup.


This year UMF students also will plant heritage apple trees along Lincoln Street between student dormitories and the Fitness Center. The six apple trees, donated by the Farmington Grange, is the first step UMF is taking in creating an edible landscape.

“The hope is that, once the trees have matured, students can contribute to wellness and freely pick fruit on their way to class,” Kellet said. “We thought Earth Day would be a great day to do this.”

Students from Denise Boothby’s Nutrition and Ecological Concerns class will plant the trees from 9:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Friday. The planting will be overseen by John Bunker, founder of Fedco Trees and the Maine Heritage Orchard.

Bunker then will give a talk on how the apple shaped Maine history, from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Olsen Student Center.

The Farmington Parks and Recreation Department, new to town Earth Day activities, is hosting an Adopt-A-Park event from noon to 3 p.m. Friday.

The department is inviting volunteers to sign up to help tidy up town parks, according to its Facebook page. The department asks people to sign up before the event for planning purposes.


Volunteers can pick from one of six parks: Hippach Field, Meetinghouse Park, Walton Mills Pond Park, Philbrick Park, Bjorn Park and VIS Park.

Volunteers will be provided rubber gloves, safety reflective vests, litter sticks, trash bags and a free event T-shirt.

At 3 p.m., all of the day’s festivities will culminate with an Earth Day celebration at Hippach Field sponsored by the Farmington Public Works Department, where popcorn will be offered and volunteers from the day are encouraged to gather and celebrate a day’s work, Bean Palmer said.

In addition to Friday’s events, UMF’s Sustainable Campus Coalition will host a celebration from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday on the Roberts Learning Center patio.

The celebration is open to the public and will feature music provided by student musicians and food. Kellett said the idea is to get everyone “hanging out in the nice weather” and getting in the mindset for Earth Day.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

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