by Diana Nelson Jones/April 27
The reports about Earth Day-weekend clean-ups around the city are trickling in. (well, we have one so far...) We want to share John Engle's enthusiastic summary (edited) of the effort in the Central Northside:
"This year's Earth Day Clean Up on April 24 had a soggy start. When Tom and I were loading up the tools and supplies in his little hatchback, I felt discouraged because it was raining. I thought our efforts planning, organizing, and hauling tools was going to be a wasted effort and expected no one to show up.
"It was still drizzling when we got to Mechanics Retreat Park, but to my surprise people were already gathering, and Dan and Kathy had already started working on the park. By now I should know better than to underestimate the grit and determination of my fellow Northside neighbors. Soon, the rain began clearing, the sun came out, and it turned out to be a great day to be outdoors.
"We had 21 volunteers who gathered over 60 bags of organic debris and litter, six tires, and many other miscellaneous dumped items. In addition to cleaning up litter, four of our gardens -- Alpine Gardens, Drovers Repose Garden, the Children's Garden, and Mechanics Retreat Park -- got their spring clean up. As a special treat this year, all participants received Earth Day T-Shirts silk screened with a beautiful design by Dan Wintermantle.
"Next Saturday, May 1 at 12:30 p.m., we be focusing mostly on vacant lots. We are expecting 45 student volunteers from the Urban Impact Foundation. We will tackle six or seven projects including clearing litter from the Arch Street city steps, clearing a number of vacant lots of Japanese knotweed, clearing a number of brick alleyways that eventually turn into ‘greenways', and planting shrubs, donated by Gavin Deming [of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy], in the empty beds of the Family Dollar parking lot."
Photo by Zandrea Ambrose. C.J. Cooper (left) and Tom Cihil (right)