Pick up, then party! On Saturday, April 10, you can show some Ayer pride and a little pre-Earth Day spirit by taking part in "A Cleaner Ayer," the third annual town cleanup day. Just stop down at Depot Square any time between 9 and 11:30 a.m. to register the area you'll be tackling and to get your gloves and bags. The pickup will wrap up at noon, but volunteers are also needed to help sort recyclables at the transfer station from 1 to 2 p.m.
Students take note: Participation in A Cleaner Ayer counts toward community service hours you need for graduation. Make sure to grab participation sheets when you stop at Depot Square for your bags and gloves.
Afterward, bring your favorite goodies and bask in the post-cleanup glow at an all-ages dance party and dessert potluck at Town Hall from 7 to 10 p.m., open to everyone, whether you took part in the a.m. cleanup efforts or not. Learn some new steps along with Donna Shea and Michael Quigley and the staff of DL Dance Enterprises or visit the kids' craft area. A perfect end to a perfect spring day.
For more info or to volunteer to help with sorting recyclables or setup/breakdown for the party, contact Laurie Sabol at 987-772-7858 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amping up the energy at Page-Hilltop -- Renewable energy, that is. Thanks to grant money from the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust Fund, kids at Page-Hilltop Elementary have been learning all about alternative power sources.
Laurie Nehring, president of People of Ayer Concerned about the Environment (PACE) and a former high-school science teacher, working closely with fifth grade teacher Ginny Egan and Principal Fred Deppe, has been leading an afterschool enrichment program for fourth and fifth graders. Says Laurie, "Each week, we do a small experiment about renewable energy, and then we go for a hike along a trail near the school. We look for signs of wildlife, signs of spring, and just enjoy being outside."
She adds, "The students are interested and smart and fun!" Their first week, they won Laurie's admiration by insisting on picking up a quantity of trash they came across during their hike. "These kids give me hope," she says.
Just getting underway is a renewable energy unit for all of Page-Hilltop's 5th graders. According to Laurie, the unit will start with a "Global Footprint" analysis, where students will analyze their energy use to see graphically how many earths their lifestyles require.
"We will then delve into four of the more common - solar, wind, geothermal and biomass," she says. "The major hands-on project will involve students working in design teams to develop plans for an energy-efficient, that could be used for the new Ayer-Shirley science wing."
The Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust Fund comes from an electric- bill surcharge we all pay toward promoting renewable energy. The funds are filtered back to communities to use for renewable energy projects or to educate community members on the benefits of greener energy sources. Both Page-Hilltop's current renewable energy programs -- along with materials and science kits which the school was able to purchase -- came from this fund, with the approval of the Ayer Board of Selectmen, who distribute the portion that comes back to our town.
Green goings on
People of Ayer Concerned about the Environment (PACE) meeting -- Tuesday, March 23, Nashoba Park Assisted Living, 7 p.m.
Conservation Commission meetings -- Thursday, March 27, and Thursday, April 8, Town Hall, 7 to 9 p.m.
Greenway Committee meeting -- Saturday, March 27, Ayer Library, 10:30 a.m. to noon. A Cleaner Ayer townwide cleanup -- April 10, kicking off from Depot Square, 9 a.m. to noon.
Worcester VegFest 2010 -- A festival celebrating the vegetarian lifestyle, with a variety of speakers and resources. Saturday, April 17, at the Student Center at Worcester State College, 486 Chandler Street, Worcester, noon to 5 p.m. For more info, visit http://vegworcester.com/festival/.