Family fun, community service, and environmental education are all part of the Student Conservation Association (SCA) Earth Day Family Festival on Saturday, April 22nd from 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at Riverbank State Park in Harlem. The festivities will draw hundreds of families and community members to celebrate the 47th annual Earth Day, and will feature special guest appearances.
SCA, commemorating 60 years as the national leader in youth service and stewardship, is renowned for empowering young people through hands-on service to national parks, state forests, and city squares. SCA President & CEO Jaime Matyas says the Earth Day Festival is intended to help young children and families become more environmentally aware.
“Our world today faces a complex range of ecological challenges, while our society struggles with the disconnect between youth and nature, and the dominance of technology in young people’s lives,” states Matyas. “The family festival will be enjoyable for all ages as well as educational to promote sustainability and urban conservation.”
The Riverbank State Park event, with support from American Express and Southwest Airlines, includes a mix of volunteer projects for teens and adults, and games and art projects for families and younger children.
Service projects include:
- Painting and assembling new park benches as part of a park-wide spring makeover. SCA high school crews will install the benches and provide other park improvements later this spring and summer. In partnership with New York State Parks.
- Restoring and recording historic gravestones at nearby Trinity Cemetery. Trinity is the final resting place of many notable New Yorkers, including conservationist John James Audubon, and the historic resources of the site have not been fully surveyed since 1931.
- Conducting visitor surveys at Harlem green spaces including St. Nicholas Park and Jackie Robinson Park and collecting data to gauge visitor needs and inform future improvements. In partnership with NYC Parks.
Family-oriented highlights include:
- Recycling Relay: teams of kids will grab plastic bottles, toothpaste tubes, and paper plates, and then dash to bins marked “Recycling” and “Compost” to learn what household items can be reused and how to adopt more sustainable practices.
- Decomposition Derby: which lasts longest in a landfill: a wool sock, a tin can, or a glass bottle? Students will challenge their friends to determine the lifecycle of common household items and learn an important lesson in protecting our environment.
- Recycled Seed Starters: let the kids get a jump on spring by turning your cardboard toilet paper tubes into biodegrad¬able seed starters. Grow your own seeds at home: it’s fun, economical and eco-friendly. In collaboration with Care To Recycle®, an initiative of Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies.
- Seed Bombs: support native pollinators by creating tiny, all-natural “seed bombs” that will grow into wildflowers and other native plants beloved by Monarch butterflies, honeybees, hummingbirds, and other important pollinator species.
- Tree Giveaway: help make New York City greener by planting one of the hundreds of native tree seedlings we’re giving away free! Choose from Tulip Poplar, Serviceberry, and more. Up to two seedlings per family. In collaboration with New York Restoration Project.
- Donate a Photo: pose with fun props in our photo booth, then take home a free print and donate a photo for the planet. In collaboration with Care To Recycle®, an initiative of Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies.
Music will be performed throughout the festival, and members of SCA’s New York Excelsior Conservation Corps will also be on hand to support the volunteers and youth activities and showcase SCA’s expanding statewide partnership with New York State Parks.
Riverbank State Park is located on Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10031. Enter the park at 145th Street (#1 train to 145th) and look for SCA greeters at the entrance.
About the Student Conservation Association
The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is America’s largest and most effective youth conservation service organization. SCA conserves lands and transforms lives by empowering young people of all backgrounds to plan, act, and lead, while they protect and restore our natural and cultural resources. Founded in 1957, SCA’s mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders, and 70% of its 85,000 alumni are employed or studying in conservation-related fields. For more, visit www.thesca.org.
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