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A WIN for Saugus park

This article was published 1 year(s) and 1 month(s) ago.

Lindsay O'Brien picks a nerf dart and a nip bottle off the grounds at Stocker Park during an Earth Day cleanup organized by WIN Waste Innovations. (Jakob Menendez )

SAUGUS — Organized by WIN Waste Innovations, volunteers gathered for a clean-up at Stocker Playground on Sunday for an Earth Day celebration. Learning stations, the appearance of former New England Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak, and free food and gifts for the volunteers turned the clean-up into a fun, community event for the 150 attendees.

“Changing the world starts with one action – like today’s clean-up,” said WIN Waste Vice President of Environmental Compliance Jim Connolly. 

State Rep. Donald Wong (R-Saugus) thanked the management of WIN Waste Innovations for sponsoring the event and said that it was great to see all ages, from young children to adults. He also thanked Board of Selectmen Chair Anthony Cogliano and everyone who participated.

“Everyone has to work together to make the Earth a better place to live,” said Wong. “We all have a commitment to keep the Earth clean for future generations.” 

Cogliano said he hoped the town would continue to work with WIN Innovations now more than it had in the past.

 Zolak, now a commentator on Patriots’ radio broadcasts and a co-host on 98.5 The Sports Hub, said it was a nice day to get out with friends and family and “pick up the areas where your family walks, where they play, where they eat.”

 “If you think about towns that are busy, there is a lot of trash in the area,” said Zolak. “People just ignorantly throw trash on the ground.”.

Geoff Wilson, who manages Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary at WIN Waste, counted about 25 plastic pieces, almost invisible in the grass, in the area of one-square-yard. Most plastics, he said, are petroleum-based and can pollute the ecosystems. 

“After a while, they also grow algae and they take on a smell of the natural system, so birds and fish and other wildlife then mistake them for food, and they ingest them,” said Wilson.

With time, larger identifiable plastics also break down into smaller microplastics. For example, packaging foam disintegrates into separate pellets that are harder to collect, and they then turn into the nanoplastics that need to be filtered to get captured.

“But if we can go out and collect these plastics while they are in their macro forms, then we stop that cycle of degradation,” said Wilson.

Wilson also educated students and adults about other local environmental projects, such as the construction of nesting boxes designed to protect and support tree swallows and wrens in Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary and in parks and public spaces in the Saugus community. According to Wilson, the bird population naturally helps control the harmful insects such as mosquitos and blacklegged ticks. 

The protection and management of Bear Creek is a signature initiative in WIN Waste’s vision for a healthier planet. With WIN Waste’s support, the sanctuary has blossomed into one of the largest bird migration staging areas in Northeastern Massachusetts and a habitat for more than 200 bird species and other wildlife.

A variety of entertainment provided a good incentive for the people to participate. Revere-based 3rd Alarm Wood Fired Pizza provided four choices of pizza. Bagels and other food were also offered. 

98.5 The Sports Hub offered souvenirs and there was a table of giveaways that included food, sweatshirts, T-shirts, hats, and more in appreciation for all the volunteers, said Stephanie Mastrocola, who works with WIN Waste on community relations.

Stephanie DeCristoforo, sixth-grade math teacher at Saugus Middle High School, brought about 15 of her students for the clean-up. She said that it was great for the kids to do something for their community.

“It was something fun for my son and me to do,” said Joe Brady, a WIN Waste Innovations employee. 

“They kind of get more aware of what they can find in the trash around the river, and I hope they will learn not to do things like that,” said Saugus resident Vanja Basta.

 The kids said they learned “how the plastic spreads around the world,” as Anthony Sullivan, 10, put it. 

 “It feels good taking care of the planet,” said Eric O’Brien, 10.

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