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John Gilliam Day

John Gilliam Day, Harpswell’s annual roadside cleanup in commemoration of Earth Day, falls on April 20 this year.

John Lewis Gilliam started the roadside cleanup because he was proud of Harpswell’s natural beauty. Gilliam had the idea for a cleanup in the mid-1980s and, with the leadership of Harpswell Select Board member David Chipman, it has been an annual event ever since.

John Gilliam Day relies on volunteers to clean up litter along Harpswell’s roadways in the morning for pickup in the early afternoon. Harpswell’s Recycling Committee, Department of Recreation and Community Services, and Conservation Commission assist with the event.

Free trash bags and snacks will be available in the morning at three locations: Bailey Island General Store, Watson’s Store, and Uncle Pete’s Community Market. Volunteers also can use their own trash bags. Returnable bottles and cans can be collected in separate bags for redemption or donation.

After collecting a winter’s worth of litter, volunteers are asked to leave full trash bags on Harpswell Neck Road, Harpswell Islands Road, Mountain Road, or Cundy’s Harbor Road, then come enjoy pizza at Merriconeag Grange starting at 1:30 p.m.

In the afternoon, the Recycling Committee has a group of volunteers who will pick up the trash bags from roadsides to take them to the Recycling Center.

Over the years, volunteers have rid Harpswell’s roads of tons of trash, but miles of roads have been missed. Organizers hope for even more volunteers this year.

For more information, call 207-833-5771.