January 27, 2011

Snow hides landscapes in need of help

Union Leader Correspondent
LONDONDERRY -- Even with more snow on the way this week, members of the town’s Beautify Londonderry committee can’t help but think spring.
The program, a town-wide cleanup traditionally held on five consecutive weekends each
 April and May, faced some challenges around this time last year when former program leader Carolyn O’Connor, who was also the town administrative support specialist, resigned from her positions, and town officials decided against replacing her. 

Thanks to the efforts of community volunteers, though, Beautify Londonderry continued on last spring, 300 volunteers strong. 
Residents Kerri Stanley, Joel Sadler and Maureen Pauwels stepped up to the plate to fill O’Connor’s shoes, under the guidance of the town’s Solid Waste Committee. 
“We’d like to increase that number, as there will always be a need for the picking up of roadside litter, not to mention what volunteers do to clean up town and school properties in raking, mulching and planting,” Stanley said yesterday. 
As the program approaches its fifth season, Stanley, who serves as a spokeswoman for the program, said she and event organizers would welcome anyone from the community to assist in this year’s efforts. 
“We’re eager and ready to tackle the project this year and hope to increase the number of volunteers and amount of projects, as well as local businesses who would like to sponsor this great and thriving cause,” Stanley said. 
In previous years, Beautify Londonderry has boasted between 800 and 1,000 community volunteers and resulted in completed projects such as litter removal around the skate park, at the Kendall Pond Conservation Area, and on a number of roadways in town. Spring cleaning and planting will also take place on the grounds of the district’s schools, at the senior center, cable access center, Leach Library, police department, Town Common, the Morrison House museum, the town offices and at the town’s fire stations. 
Many local businesses also lend a helping hand by donating supplies, organics, gardening gear and safety vests. 
Volunteers are typically an eclectic bunch, made up of members of local youth and service groups as well as concerned individuals and entire neighborhoods. Members of local Boy and Girl Scout troops usually help, as do classrooms from district schools and parishioners from local churches. 
With Beautify Londonderry to run weekends from April 23 through May 22 this year, event organizers are hoping to have a full array of volunteers lined up by April 1. 
Stanley said she’s hoping to recruit more school organizations this year and plans to visit students in local classrooms to educate and inform them on the upcoming programs. 
The Londonderry Indian Pathfinders, a local organization for fathers and daughters, have already offered to serve as volunteers this year, which Stanley said would help minimize costs since the Pathfinders’ assistance, along with help from A Londonderry Emergency Response Team (ALERT) would reduce the need for police department escorts on the town’s busiest roads. 
For more information on Beautify Londonderry, visit www.londonderrynh.org, or contact Stanley at beautifylon donderry@comcast.net or 434-3476. 
The Beautify Londonderry Committee will also meet tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the Woodmont Conference Room on the first floor of Town Hall. 

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