How to celebrate Earth Day in Richmond

volunteer pulling weeds

Kathleen Wimer, a volunteer with the Citizens for a Sustainable Point Molate and the Richmond Progressive Alliance, pulls weeds and spreads mulch. Photo by Vanessa Carr.

Creek clean ups, a compost giveaway and a garden blessing are only a few examples of how Richmond will celebrate Earth Day this year.

Every year since 1970, on and around April 22 individuals and organizations worldwide have demonstrated their commitment to environmental protection and sustainability. This year, Richmond’s citizens will have plenty of opportunities to support this global idea. Most of the city’s events will take place on Saturday, April 23.

The Watershed Project, a Richmond-based organization committed to inspiring Bay Area communities to protect local watersheds, invites everyone to join the annual Creeks Challenge clean up. The event will take place from 9 am to 12 pm on April 23 at five locations: Verde Elementary in Richmond, 23rd Street Plaza in San Pablo, the Wildcat Creek Staging Area in Richmond, the Boys and Girls Club of El Sobrante and the Albany Bulb. For more detailed information go to thewatershedproject.org.

“The main idea of the event is to help people in making the connection between their own backyards and the ocean and the whole water system,” said Juliana Gonzales, Healthy Watersheds program manager. “It is easier when they can witness firsthand the amount and types of trash that end up in our waterways. We want to change the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude.”

People from the Watershed Project want to make Bay Area citizens aware of the fact that all that litter ends up in the ocean. For example, Gonzales recalls a woman who was surprised by the number of plastic straws she found in a creek, and so decided to pay more attention to what her kids do when they finish their beverages.  Among other trash “troves” found in local creeks during previous clean ups were stashes of tires, plastic bottles, cans, single-use containers and other fast food wrappers.

There is no special preparation needed in order to take part in the event. “All that people need to do is to show up,” Gonzales said. Participants are only asked to bring their own buckets, gloves and boots, if they have them. Turnout is expected to be between 50 and 100 people per site.

Another way to participate in an Earth Day celebration in Richmond is to show up in the parking lot at 27th Street and Macdonald Avenue between 9 am and 1 pm on Saturday, where the City of Richmond will host a compost giveaway.

Compost is made from the city’s residential food scrap collection and composting program. It can be added as a rich soil amendment to home gardens.
Residents may pick up 2 cubic feet of free compost (equal to about three 5-gallon buckets of unbagged compost), take home a free plant, and receive an energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulb in exchange for an old halogen floor lamp (300 watts or more).

They will also be able to find out about the benefits of composting and how to best apply it from experts from CURME (Communities United in Restoring Mother Earth) at the “Compost Guru” table. For more information go to richmondenvironment.org.
Plants will be provided by Sunnyside Organics and Richmond Rivets, and CFL bulbs will be provided by California Youth Energy Services, a program of Rising Sun Energy Center.

Additionally, on Saturday North Richmond will host a Little League Panther Parade that will begin at 10 am at 237 Vernon Avenue, and then continue along Filbert, Chesley, Cherry, Alamo and Kelsey Streets. It will include all five of the North Richmond “Green” baseball and softball community teams, as well as a marching band, cars and horses, to celebrate this year’s Richmond Little League Season.

The parade will be kicked off by the North Richmond “Green” Lots of Crops Garden Blessing Ceremony, which will celebrate its success in converting a second vacant lot into a community garden. The parade’s route will end at the Shields Reid Ball Park/Community Center, where there will be a free barbecue celebration from 11 am to 4 pm. The barbecue celebration will include music, face painting and other entertainment. Three Little League games will be played by three of five North Richmond “Green” Little League Teams.

Both of these events are part of the North Richmond Green Campaign, which aims at contributing to a cleaner and healthier North Richmond Community.

For more information about the North Richmond Green Campaign go to stopdumping.org.

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