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Environment group hopes to rake it in during clean-up fund drive

Posted by Matt Byrne  October 29, 2010 10:04 AM

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Photo courtesy Groundwork Somerville

National Park Preservers, a job training crew, is pictured with community residents at a Groundwork Somerville garden raising event Oct. 16.

A growing Somerville environmental group is seeking eco-conscious donors to pitch in for the first annual Green-a-Thon fund-raiser event, where four sites will be cleaned up by sponsored volunteers, organizers said.

The effort will be underway Nov. 13 at the four sites, where volunteers sponsored by donors will be picking up garbage and beautifying at sites that otherwise may have continued to be neglected, said Jen Lawrence, executive director of Groundwork Somerville.

Lawrence and staffers decided on the event while pondering how to raise money, and said Green-a-Thon "would be something to get people to meet one another and clean up the city," she said in a phone interview.

The fund-raising aspect of the effort is modeled after other nonproft organizations'  campaigns that use personalized donor-volunteer sponsorship to let multiple people pledge money for specific hours worked.  

"Modeled after the typical 'walk-a-thon' style fund-raiser, [Groundwork Somerville] will be accepting pledges for each hour spent 'greening the city,' " a statement from the group said.

Lawrence said the sites were chosen with the input of the City Parks and Open Space Department. In East Somerville, volunteers are expected to clear space ahead of a tree planting near Zero New Washington St.

In addition, in the central part of the city, Somerville Junction Park at Central Street and the commuter rail bridge wil be cleaned up, as well as parts of another project, Urban Wild, a site behind Somerville High School that has largely been left be but is in need of some maintenance work and garbage removal.

In West Somerville, Groundwork will also send volunteers to the intersection of Broadway and Furnace Brook Parkway.

Proceeds from the event will help fund health education, green jobs, and sustainable community programming, the group said. Lawrence said after hiring full-time staff, the group is preparing to expand next year into a full membership organization to drive its programming.

Citizens interested in participating should show up Nov. 13 at one of the four locations at 10 a.m. with rake and gloves at the ready. Crews are scheduled to will work until 2 p.m., according to plans.

A rain date has been set for Nov. 14, and updates in the case of inclement weather will be provided on the Groundwork website.

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