Monday, February 8, 2016

Green Up Vermont 2016 Poster Contest Winners

Green Up Vermont announced the 2016 Green Up Day poster contest winners.

Over all Winner 
Charlotte Brace, Grade 11, Montpelier High School

Grade K-4 Winner Jordan Alley,
 Grade 4, Blue Mountain Union School, 
Wells River Teacher: Jennifer Dube

 Grade 5-8 WinnerBobby Cody, 
Grade 7, Main Street Middle School, Montpelier
 Teacher: Rhonda Brace 

Grade 9-12 Winner Keara Ellerson McMullan, 
Grade 10, Montpelier High School 
Teacher: Barbara Austin-Hutchins

My Favorites from previous years.

  See all the Past Poster Design winners 1980-2015 posters on the Green Up Vermont web site. 

Click for 2015 Photos of South Burlington Green Up Day.

Over 15,000 people volunteer annually in picking up litter (over 40,000 bags of trash) on Green Up Day. View  GREEN UP VERMONT, to find a list of town coordinators. hare the website with your family-download winning poster, view photos and videos, buy t-shirts, check out the blog, learn about Green up Day history,and more,

Many do not know the "state" does not manage Green Up Day.  The non-profit org. must raise about 80% of its funds from the private sector.   Interested individuals can also donate money.

     When in my teens, no longer a child needing my parent’s attendance yet still harboring a deep down desire for family experiences, I sought out Green Up Day as a continuation of tradition mixed with my growing independence. 

      As I joined friends that Saturday morning I felt like we were doing something good that seemed leveraged well beyond the ten or twelve bags of trash we collected. The activity was not as work anymore than climbing the hill to slide back down was in the winter. What I saw and felt that Saturday encourages me to view every day that I walk outdoors as Green Up Day.

      I seldom see so many families and friends gathered enjoying each other’s company in a statewide yet community based tradition as on Green Up Day.  Join your group on Green Up Day, Saturday May 7, 2016. Collaborate with those whom make Vermont a special place and Green Up Day a day to remember. 

Bernie publishes photos reflecting Vermont values of Green and Clean and Community. He urges us all to, pick up litter and maintain a litter free environment through caring, community, and contribution in order to protect our water, wildlife, and human health.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Clean City: Ours to Lose or Keep

The cold winter month of January
 may seem an ill shuffled timing choice for this Green and Clean column. However, the timing only helps illustrate that, just as precipitation falls from the skies no matter be it snow or rain, in spring or summer, fall or winter, the responsibility  to keep our city clean, falls on our shoulders year round.

We work hard to make our beautiful city the pride of the region. We spend countless hours developing zoning regulations scrutinizing even the smallest of details in the design and placement of commercial and residential buildings. We rightfully boast about finest schools, world-renowned employers and retailers, unique and picturesque small neighborhoods. Our city deserves to be clean at all times of the year.

Perhaps most of us consider littering a gross indulgence, a lazy, offensive, uncaring act: an objectionable violation of our social norm. Perhaps most of us reject apathy, reject the assimilation to even a lightly littered city that we call home.

It is not enough to refrain from littering. To bring the full salutary impact of the social norm, we must show our visible expression of disapproval of the littering action of others.

How can we do that? We might follow the lead of the residents of South Burlington who without fanfare and little, if any, recognition, have adopted a block or park or street to keep clean throughout the year. These folks feel ownership and bear responsibility for the public areas of their neighborhoods. These folks pick up after the few people who demonstrate, through littering behaviors, a missing connection to our community.

For green and clean, we cheer the Adopt-a-Block team; for love of community, we take pride in our storefronts and public spaces. To demonstrate the pride and protect that which we love, will you bear responsibility for her, our city’s cleanliness?  Rain or snow, summer or winter, will you help tidy up South Burlington, Vermont?

It is simple to participate and make a difference. Here is how you can Adopt-A-Block. Send an e-mail to me at bernie.paquette (at) yahoo (dot) com and let me know what road (or section of road) or park or other public area you would like to adopt. There are endless options of what to adopt - from your own street or block to a section of bike path or a nearby wooded area. You can sign up yourself, your family, or your business. Then keep your adopted area clean throughout the year, whether that means daily pick up, a weekly cleanup or a monthly effort. Signups are for one-year intervals. Visit the Adopt-A-Block tab for cleaning tips as well as ways to share your success, including stories and photos. You will also get to see other community members who are part of the clean-up action.

Will you, proprietor, resident, student, young or aged, awaken in yourself, a greater sense of ownership and responsibility for our place?

Clean city is yours to keep or lose: choose to keep her clean.

Bernie encourages everyone to maintain a litter free environment through caring, contribution, and community in order to protect our water, wildlife, and human health. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Clean All-Season Sport; Can you spot, photo, slam dunk?

Litter Picking is an All Season Sport              Drop a piece, you lose a point. 

            Pick up a piece, you gain a point.

Can you spot litterphotograph and add a caption, then slam dunk it into a trash bin?

March Madness (All Season Sport Introduction)

Here are a few examples of the Clean All-Season Sport photos and captions. Click on any of these hyper links to view. Which one is your favorite?

Blizzard Wizard


#Litterati South Burlington

WARNING this sport can be dangerous: 
     Carnivorous plant devours Champlain College Student

Tiny Machines to 'play the game' (Video)

The Last Piece nearly did me in. (True Story)

What's so great about litter picking?

Why are we tolerant of trash?

Adopt A Block

A tribute to Social Janitors

When I pick up litter I feel.... (View over 100 responses)

Shooting for the NBA All-Star basket in more ways than one 
(essay by Sheila White)

Got Talent? Project / activity ideas to raise awareness about litter and to encourage litter clean up.

Made in Vermont, Clean Up Coupon. 
Bernie urges us: Maintain a litter free environment through caring, contribution, and community in order to protect our water, wildlife, and human health. 
Pick up Vermont: Pick up Vermont 365.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Don't just change what people think, change what people feel..Bernie's Green and Clean newspaper columns

Don’t just change what people think, change what people feel, than change what they do.  ~Bernadette Jiwa

             I publish images and commentary - stories and photos about caring, community, and contribution, inspiring people to maintain a litter free environment. Why? Because stories make us care.                   

Columns written by Bernie Paquette and originally published in "The Other Paper", local newspaper of South Burlington, VT.  

Published since 2009; click on any of the titles below to read the particular column.

Published Date: Title                 

Jan          2016

Jan          2015 Submerged (not published)
Feb         2015  I Love Chocolate (not published)
Mar        2015  None
Apr 11,  2015 Beautiful Nature Litter Free (Birds). Originally published in Watching Backyard Birds magazine, April 2015
May 14, 2015 Green Up Day Highlights
June 11, 2015 Clean Branding Editorial (not published)
July 23, 2015 Growing Young Gardeners 
Aug 27, 2015 Machia Wilderness Camp 
Oct 22, 2015 Fall Community Harvests
Nov 2, 2015  Lens on Litter (Not published)
Nov 26, 2015 A November Blessing (Poem)
Dec 3,   2015 City Beauty Matters 
Dec 19, 2015 City Prepares for Santa (Not published)
Dec 23, 2015 Park Your Gift - Have Fun Outside

Jan   2014 January Pledge: Keep it Clean, Keep it Green (Not published)
Apr 10,  2014 Green Up Day Competition Let the Games beginpage3
May 22, 2014 Insulation: Are you Trading Health for Energy Savings?
June      2014   One Bag Challenge (Not published)
July       2014  None
Aug 7,  2014 Smallest Sounds 
Sept      2014 None
Oct 16, 2014 Foliage Season Train 
Dec 23, 2014 Sustainable Christmas (Short Story)  
Apr 11, 2013 Green Up Day: Tradition, Treasure Hunt, & Pink Bras. (Pending)
June       2013 None
July 18, 2013 Picking up the pieces 
Aug       2013 Odd Road Markings Sighted
Oct 31,  2013 Ghosts, Goblins and Green Goodies 
Nov 4,   2013 What's so Great about Litter Picking? (not published)
Dec 13, 2013 Christmas - I look for a Reason to Believe. (not published) 

Jan 5,    2012 Let's Celebrate 2012 with Actions
Feb 2,   2012  In Memoriam 
Feb 7,   2012   Green Economy - Does it include you? (not published)
Feb 16, 2012 Happy Valentine's Day (To Mother Earth)
Apr 12, 2012 Selling the Clean Brand
Apr 2,   2012   Solar Trash Receptacles -proposal to SB Council (not published)
May 17, 2012 What is Success?
June 14, 2012 Going for a walk with Dad (*Tribute to my dad)
Aug 9,   2012 "The best things in life aren't things."
Sept       2012 None
Dec 13, 2012 Letters From Home (Christmas Wishes)

Jan 13,   2011 Local man spots trash (Michelin and Stay puft marshmallow man)
Feb 10,   2011 Vermont man lost in Minnesota 
Mar 10,  2011 Vermont Files for Spring IPO
April      2011  Why are we tolerant of littered trash? (not published)
May 12,  2011 Carry It with You (If roads could talk)
July 14,  2011 Tell me Why
Sept 8,   2011 Sharing Summer Vacation (A play in one act)
Oct 27,  2011 Let's Not Disappoint Them
Nov       2011 None

Jan 14,  2010 Will we Throw it all Away 
Apr 8,   2010 Tradition
May 13, 2010 Terra Firma
June 10, 2010 Walking Home (*tribute to my dad)
June       2010 Beware the Litter Ides of March (not published)
July 15, 2010 Sleuthing
Aug 12, 2010 The Dog Days of Summer
Oct 21, 2010 The Power in Numbers
Nov 18, 2010 Intensive Care
Dec 9,   2010 Mark your territory

Feb __, 2009 Bait in Styrofoam Containers
Jan __, 2009 New Year's Resolutions
April _, 2009 Litter With a Story To Tell (Pink Bra)(PENDING)
May __, 2009 Litter Prevention
Aug__, 2009 Finding Hot Spots
Nov __, 2009 Giving Thanks
Dec__, 2009 Christmas Wishes

Bernie publishes commentary and photos reflecting Vermont values of Green and Clean and Community. View images of South Burlington beauty at and follow on Facebook @ South Burlington VT - Photos.

Author profile (2009)

 Hello, please find below a little insight to who I am and why I contribute my Green and Clean thoughts to The Other Paper. 

         My wife and I are proud parents of four children, an Army Sgt. Recruiter and recipient of the Army's recruiter ring, a daughter married and living in Sweden, a son managing a store in Kansas, and our youngest son graduating from UVM this spring.  I attended Champlain College 2001-2006, earning a Bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Some of my core values are personal expression through writing finding meanings and possibilities, harmonious relationships, and hard work. My temperament is towards a humanist culture. My motto is "Laugh, dream, try and do good".  I enjoy personalized writing, to quote Joan Didion “I write to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see, and what it means".  My hobbies include quiet water paddling in a kayak or canoe, reading, bird watching, and camping.
South Burlington's The Other Paper is exemplary of our shifting expectations from newspaper media providing focused, detailed, local investigative reporting, and S.B. community social interests, all with an optimistic and influential flair. The Other Paper, by publishing a growing number of local contributors is expanding a community town hall type of discourse and refreshing what might otherwise be stagnant waters by exposing us to diverse S.B. citizen's visions, and dreams.
Sharing stories and ideas while offering encouragement to individuals to influence and take action in our city government and in our city culture is personally rewarding. The opportunity I relish when writing green and clean articles is rallying fellow residents towards a year round litter free environment.

How would you like people to react after reading your essays? Be intolerant of litter every day, every place. Rally for clean up wherever and whenever you see litter.

Bernie urges us all to maintain a litter free environment through caring, contribution, and community in order to protect our water, wildlife, and human health. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Park Your Gift - Have Fun Outside

     According to the World Happiness Report, from a money, happiness and satisfaction study in 2012, Denmark was at the top in life satisfaction and work-life balance and
17th in income. The United States ranked number 1 in income but ranked 12th in life satisfaction and 29th  in work balance. This holiday season, how can we find the sense of happiness found in Denmark?

     This reminds me of the Bobby McFerrin singing, “Don’t worry – be happy. Put a smile on your face”. Also reminds me of the Cyndi Lauper singing, “Girls just wanna have fun”. Perhaps those references are showing my age. However, that is okay, as WebMd advises that people are happier, less stressed, and feel better about themselves after age 50. With increased age comes wisdom and emotional intelligence. Well I feel happier, less stressed, so two out of three isn’t bad!

     Now WebMd seems to caution about extremes. “Sure, pleasure is great and you need plenty of it, though there is more to happiness than racking up pleasurable experiences. Psychologists studying the effects of positive emotions say gratitude can boost our sense of happiness if we turn it into a conscious and regular practice. Feeling gratitude, they say, is something you do (such as expressing gratitude or keeping a gratitude journal), not something you wait for!”

     I think I will start by shopping for a Christmas tree. Now in past years, when our children were little, this was a mix of fun, and agony. The fun was the idea of the family outing, decorating the tree, fresh pine smell. The agony was my choice of Charlie Brown trees in an effort to squeeze dollar bills.

     This year I think I will (frequently) visit South Burlington parks and natural areas to shop for the Christmas tree experience. I will take photos of Christmas trees- no messing with tangled light cords, non-functional bulbs, no spilling water, no sweeping pine needles, no worrying about money.  The live growing pine and spruce trees, the natural trees of green releasing aroma like pheromones make me feel happy, alive, refreshed, and thankful we have such a spiritual and pleasure giving place to boost our sense of happiness.   

     My wish list to Santa is to have more residents feel pride and a claim of ownership and display a maternal caring attitude and behavior towards our public landscape - both the cityscape and the natural areas. For love of community, may we take thankful pride and ownership in our public places-especially our natural places?

     Santa, for those not yet familiar with nature parks: Red Rocks, Wheeler, Underwood, Dumont, Centennial, Winooski Gorge Overlook, as well as the Awasiwi trail, Muddy Brook Natural area, and regional WVPD parks, I ask that you leave an invitation in their stocking; an invitation to park their gifts for a little while, and go have fun outside.

     It is not too late to give a gift of an outdoor experience - to a loved one and to yourself.

* Storywalk: Take a walk in the Wheeler Nature Park to view the current story walk, Let's Have a Tree Party by David Martin, Jeff Manders and John Manders. See photos @

* The Secret to Danish Happiness: The Five Rules of "Hygge".

* A Map of Happiness Around the World

*Denmark is Considered the Happiest Country. You'll Never Guess Why.

#Optoutside REI's Black Friday pledge

View Bernie’s images of South Burlington nature parks and more @ and follow on Facebook @ South Burlington VT - Photos.

Many a snowmen are waiting for you to bring them back to life.

Bring along a thermos of hot chocolate to sip while you watch and listen to nature.