Winooski’s ‘April Stools Day’ No Joke When It Comes to Cleanup

Dog poo that pet owners fail to clean up could contaminate the Winooski River and eventually reach Lake Champlain, according to advocates

Advocates for clean water marked what they called "April Stools Day" Tuesday in Winooski, Vermont.

That’s the name the Lake Champlain Committee gives to regular cleanup projects targeting dog poo that pet owners fail to pick up.

More than a dozen members of ECO AmeriCorps -- a green jobs and environmental leadership training program — and their community partners fanned out across a trail area in Winooski to pick up poop.

The group said the waste could easily wash into the nearby Winooski River, and eventually make its way into Lake Champlain.

There, it can worsen water quality, and in the summer, even contribute to the closure of beaches to swimming and recreation.

"I think a lot of dog owners have the idea that it’ll peacefully decompose into the soil, but the problem is dog poop is full of bacteria and nutrients," said Laura Pratt, an ECO AmeriCorps member working with the Lake Champlain Committee. "And that can easily get into the water through storm runoff, snow melt — especially at this time of year. So we like to encourage dog owners to pick up all of their dog poop to keep our waters clean."

The April Stools Day cleanup was also part of a national service appreciation day, with Winooski city leaders thanking AmeriCorps members for their work to strengthen the community and environment.

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