Successful Fort Meadow Reservoir Earth Day cleanup in Marlborough – with social distancing

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By Jane Keller Gordon, Contributing Writer

Paul and Marsha Goldman photo/the Goldmans

Marlborough – A duck’s nest filled with 11 eggs sits nestled in the grass next to the causeway that bisects the Fort Meadow Reservoir. For the past 21 years, this testament to nature, among other reasons, motivated Paul Goldman of Marlborough to oversee the Fort Meadow Association’s (FMA) local cleanup on Earth Day, which is now part of Marlborough’s Project Clean Sweep. 

This year, adjusting to the time of quarantine, lake-dwellers Owen and Heather Pike have taken over the project. The cleanup is focused on Reservoir Street (the causeway), The Grove (a nearby small park in Marlborough off Route 85), and Route 85, from the Grove to the Navin Skating Rink.  

“The event may have looked a little different but was still a success,” Goldman said. “Due to current COVID restrictions and guidelines, it was stretched from April 20 to May 1 to allow volunteers to break out into smaller groups and practice social distancing. A ‘self-serve’ station was set up at Sharon Beach (on Marlborough’s Lakeshore Drive) where volunteers could collect trash bags and gloves for their cleanup activities.” 

When Goldman asked the Pikes to take over, they agreed without hesitation. They are invested in a clean local environment. 

“Heather has grown up on the lake her whole life and I moved to the lake in 2015, but have memories as a kid going to the boat house and fishing here in years past,” said Owen Pike. “I am an avid outdoorsman and was the Conservation Commission intern for the city in years past, so it was a great opportunity to continue helping the community. We love living on the lake and are just happy to give back!” 

To publicize the event, the Pikes posted signs on Lakeshore Drive, including a map of the desired pickup areas and guidelines. The self-serve station at Sharon beach was stocked with bright yellow trash bags and gloves. Goldman included a blurb about the cleanup in the FMA newsletter, which was emailed to the community.

“Heather and I … walked the causeway and up 85 toward Navin Rink. We picked up three bags of trash – including a car bumper, hub cap and a rubber boot – and left them at the boat ramp for city pickup,” Pike noted. “So far, we think there’s been about three other couples/families that have gone out. I know the causeway was heavily cleaned, Route 85 and also The Grove.”   

Goldman and his wife Marsha were thrilled to participate in the clean-up. 

“We filled a bag with trash along the Causeway’s sidewalk and embankment,” he said. “We had picker-uppers, so we got a lot of the cigarette butts, which contain toxins.” 

Over the years, Goldman estimates that 250 bags of trash have been removed from the local environment. 

Despite the limitations, this years’ cleanup was a success.

“Collectively, over 16 bags of trash were filled despite some rather cold temperatures and rainy days mixed throughout,” Pike said. “It has been great to see the community engagement over the years in this event, even with some new accommodations that have taken place this year.” 

He added: “It feels really good to be able to participate in an event that keeps our lake clean and enjoyable for all those who take part in activities on or around the water. Marlborough is very lucky to have such a beautiful lake in its footprint so we want to do everything we can to keep it that way for years to come.”

Josh, Nate and Abby Knudson
Photo/Nicole Knudson
The Pikes
Photo/Heather McPike
A duck’s nest
photo/Owen McPike