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Great Brookhaven Cleanup

Garbage collected by volunteers on May 18. Photo courtesy Paul Sagliocca

By Samantha Rutt

In the spirit of the Town of Brookhaven’s annual Great Brookhaven Cleanup event, Port Jefferson Station resident, Gary Bolk volunteered his time on May 18 to cleaning up his community. 

Bolk got his start early in the morning, “It started today at 8a.m. for me,” Bolk said. “I was dressed in work boots, long socks, long pants, a long sleeve shirt, gloves and a hat. I brought my wheel barrow, four-wheel garden cart and some miscellaneous tools. At first it was just me and the deer family I saw jumping through the woods.”

Later on in the day and to Bolk’s surprise, other residents shared a similar idea — cleaning up the park neighboring the woods Bolk was in the process of clearing. Jerry Meekins, along with other nearby volunteers soon helped to clean the space. 

As the two continued removing garbage, passers-by joined in, namely, James and Melissa Barton, a son and daughter duo. 

As the day went on more volunteers showed up ready to help and the group was able to remove piles of junk and numerous bags of plastic cans and bottles. 

Photo from TOB

The Town of Brookhaven has announced that registration for the 16th Annual Great Brookhaven Cleanup is now open. The event, which is co-sponsored by the Town of Brookhaven’s Department of Recycling and Sustainable Materials Management and Teachers Federal Credit Union, will be held on Saturday, May 18 at various locations throughout Brookhaven Town. It is part of a national effort that draws over 5 million volunteers in more than 20,000 communities across America who come together to pick up litter and clean miles of roadway, rivers, lakes, and more. Last year, the Great Brookhaven Clean Up drew more than 2600 volunteers.

Free gloves, trash bags and t-shirts will be provided by the Town for the Great Brookhaven Clean Up volunteers. The supplies will be available for pick up at the Department of Recycling and Sustainable Materials Management’s third floor office at Town Hall during regular business hours (9:00 am to 4:30 pm) from May 6 to May 17. Evening pick-ups are scheduled for May 14 and May 15 from 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm. Appointments are necessary and must be scheduled during the registration process. Brookhaven Town Hall is located at 1 Independence Hill in Farmingville.

Individuals or groups can register online for the Great Brookhaven Clean Up and get more information at www.brookhavenny.gov or by calling 451-TOWN (8696).

Photo by Rob Pellegrino


Members of the Three Village Community Trust’s Friends of the Greenway took part in the Great Brookhaven Clean-Up on May 13. 

The group tidied up the popular Port Jefferson Station Greenway Trail with the help of Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine and CURBY by collecting seven bags of litter along the trail and trail head, cutting back dead tree limbs and pruning and devining the trees.  

Pictured from right, Aaron Hoffman, Paul Sagliocca, Dennis Brennan, Susan Colatosti, CURBY, TOB Supervisor Ed Romaine, Dave Wang and Charlie McAteer. 

Old Field Montessori

Students, parents and teachers of the Montessori School at Old Field participated in the 13th annual Great Brookhaven Cleanup on May 15. “Everyone agreed that keeping the environment clean is always a worthy cause,” said Ditas Alcala, the school’s director.  Photo from Old Field Montessori

Leg. Kara Hahn helps out in Port Jeff Station. Photo by Julianne Mosher

The Town of Brookhaven came together last weekend to clean up its community.

For its 13th annual Great Brookhaven Cleanup on Saturday, May 15, people from the North Shore, South Shore and Middle Island gloved up and grabbed their garbage bags to help keep their town clean. 

In Port Jefferson Station, specifically, the train car located on the corner of Routes 112 and 347 had a large group of volunteers to help cleanup.

The Chamber of Commerce was joined by members of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association, elected officials, community members and local Girl Scouts joined in picking up trash and brush to prepare the spot for its upcoming summer concert series. 

“I’m really excited to be here today,” said Councilman Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook). “This is a really important project for Port Jeff Station, and I’m really excited to see it start to take shape.”

Kornreich said there are “big plans for the area.”

“It’s exciting for the next few years to see it come to fruition,” he added. 

Last year, the Great Brookhaven Cleanup was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, approximately 1,600 Brookhaven residents helped tidy up their communities. This localized event is part of a greater cause, the Great American Cleanup — the nation’s largest organized cleanup, beautification and community improvement program. 

“The Brookhaven cleanup gives us townwide exposure, which helps our local community,” said Craig den Hartog, PJST chamber member and owner of Emerald Magic Lawn Care. “The more help the better, and it just starts with one person.”

On the Long Island Sound, town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) and Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) joined volunteers from Suffolk County Girl Scout troops 1522 and 2755 to clean Cedar Beach in Mount Sinai.

“Thank you to all of the volunteers who participated in this year’s Great Brookhaven Cleanup,” Romaine said. “The pandemic canceled last year’s event, but people came back enthusiastically and in large numbers. It was a success because of the community members who have dedicated themselves to keeping Brookhaven clean every day of the year.”

Two girls haul a full trash bag at Washington Avenue park after community members worked on May 16 to clean it up. Photo from Dina Simoes

The Comsewogue community came out in full force on a rainy Saturday to clean up their hometown.

Washington Avenue park is buried behind trash bags after community members worked on May 16 to clean it up. Photo from Dina Simoes
Washington Avenue park is buried behind trash bags after community members worked on May 16 to clean it up. Photo from Dina Simoes

In honor of the eighth annual Great Brookhaven Cleanup, residents hit Washington Avenue park, at the corner of Oak Street in Port Jefferson Station, and School Street Park, on School Drive in Terryville behind John F. Kennedy Middle School.

According to Dina Simoes, one of the Washington Avenue organizers, there were more than 50 volunteers at that site, many of them students.

At the smaller but equally enthusiastic cleanup at School Street Park, some kids were led in their beautification efforts by Old Town Blooms founder Craig den Hartog.