Kiwanis Club of the Helderbergs First Green-Up Day
Mother nature gets help with annual greening of the Helderbergs
By Melissa Hale-Spencer
Spring cleaning will sweep the Hilltowns on a grand scale this year, with a relentless broom.
Zenith Gladieux and Wilma Lee are chairing the first annual "Green-Up Day," sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of the Helderbergs.
Gladieux said she was struck with the idea one day while driving to her home state of Vermont.
"As soon as I crossed over the New York border, I realized there was no more roadside garbage. They've had green-up days for years in Vermont," she said.
Gladieux grew up on a farm there and said she learned early that "a pair of hands is a pair of hands, no matter who is attached to them." She moved to the Hilltowns here in 1975, and five years ago was among the first women to join the local Kiwanis club. And, she was the first woman in the area division to serve as a club president.
Gladieux, a senior business analyst with Key Services, estimated that more than a quarter of the Helderberg Kiwanians are now women. "Women have been a real shot in the arm for the organization," she said. "We bring new ideas. And we tend to have new interests, involving social and educational issues. We've brought a new perspective," Gladieux said.
"And new enthusiasm," added co-chair Wilma Lee. "It's a place we haven't been before."
Lee is the postmaster in Knox and said that the post office encourages community involvement. She joined the Kiwanis Club a year ago, and said, "I like projects; I hate meetings....If I can see the results, that's the fun part for me."
"I like working with Zenie," said Lee. She's gung-ho...It's like her father said..."
Zenith Gladieux laughed and repeated one explanation for her unusual first name: "My father said I came out with my mouth open — making noise worthy of a phonograph needle — and haven't stopped talking since."
Clean-up and Green-up
The women envision an event that will bring out all sorts of organizations and individuals in all three Hill- towns. "We're contacting the groups on the list we use to organize the Memorial Day parade," said Lee. "We're hoping to have Berne-Knox-Westerlo students, 4-H'ers, Scouts, fire departments, the Masons and the senior citizens. We'd welcome anyone who wants to participate."
Green-Up Day is set for April 25, rain or shine. Those interested in participating can call Gladieux at 872-1469, nights and weekends, or Lee at 8722352, during working hours.
Participants will register at the elementary school in Berne between 8:30 and 9:30 next Saturday morning. Each group or person will be assigned to an area of a major highway, where they will pick up man-made litter from the pavement to the property or fence line.
Litter will be sorted into sacks for returnable cans and bottles, recyclables, and trash. The Kiwanians will pick up the labeled sacks left by the roadside and deliver them to the appropriate town transfer station.
The returnable cans and bottles belong to those who find them. "We're not interested in making this a fund-raiser," said Gladieux. "The groups can use any money they earn." She also suggested that groups might want to make signs to identify the stretch of road they are clearing to grateful passers-by. At the close of the three-hour clean-up session, the Berne Fire Company Auxiliary will provide sandwiches, coffee and punch back at the school in Berne. And, participants will each be given a green-up day button designed by Wilma Lee.
We're hoping community groups, families, individuals — anyone with a few hours — will give us a call." said Gladeux. "We'd like them to call us in advance, so we can assign them a stretch of road."
The two co-chairs regard the Kiwanis club as unique in the Helderbergs because "it's the only service club that spans towns and interests," Gladieux said. "School groups, churches, and fire houses have their own focus," she said. "We're not targeted to one area." "If we all work together, our problems wouldn't be so enormous," Lee said of the Hilltowns.
Gladieux emphasized that anyone can join the Kiwanis. "You have to be a person of character, and interested in the community," she said. "Basically, you need to be willing to work." Gladieux said members were from all occupations, and represented a cross-section of the Hilltown communities.
She listed three ways the Green-Up Day would help the Hilltowns: "First, the highways will look nicer. Second, if a kid picks up garbage from the road on the 25th of April, he's less likely to trash it on the first of May. Third is community pride. Somehow, the Hilltowns have grown up feeling like step children, which is a shame. They've got so much to offer."
The women hope to make Green-Up Day an annual event in the Hilltowns, as expected as the coming of spring.
Picture Caption: The Enterprise — Melissa Hale – Spencer
"In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love," but a Kiwanian may put her heart into action — cleaning. "There's real garbage out here," said Wilma Lee, right, as she and Zenith Gladieux picked up litter along Route 156 in Knox recently. The two are co-chairs for the first annual green-up day, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of the Helderbergs. And, if they are successful in their April 25th venture, the Kiwanis Hilltown sign will mark a gate way to Cleanliness.
Kiwanis Of the Helderbergs
Green Up Day
April 25, 1992
- Altamont Enterprise — Thursday, April 16, 1992