Sustain Our Nation's Forests and Grasslands

Forest hosts annual Trash Olympics to help sustain the land

Photo: four pick-up trucks with their beds full of trash bags collected from Green Mountain National Forest
Green Mountain National Forest employees with their impressive trash haul! Forest Service photo by Holly Knox.

RUTLAND, Vt. — More than a dozen employees on the Rochester and Middlebury Ranger Districts of the Green Mountain National Forest picked up four truckloads of trash and debris in July as part of their fifth annual Trash Olympics. Teams of employees compete to win the coveted “Trashie” trophy, comprised of the most unusual piece of trash found each year. They are scored based on the quantity and quality of the trash found using an established point system.

Paint cans, furniture, tires, household waste, and other items were found during this year’s event.  The winning team for 2017 was Holly Knox, Keith Roberts, and Melissa Green, who scored 44 points with 12 bags of trash collected, a burnt out minivan bench seat, a full pick-up truck bed of scrap wood and 48 foot long plastic drain pipes. The other award given out this year was for most unusual find, which went to a brand new in-the-bag copy of the June/July 2017 Western Art & Architecture magazine.

“It is a great opportunity for our staff to spend the day with coworkers cleaning up the Forest we love – with an element of competition,” noted District Ranger Chris Mattrick. The work day started as an opportunity to engage all employees with a day in the field, working across program areas to clean up the Forest. It has since become the districts’ most competitive event.

The real winner of Trash Olympics is the land, and over the past five years, less and less trash has been picked up. Overall, there is far less dumping going on, which leads to being able to provide a better visitor experience to the public.