Jonathan Lieber and Josh Race plan to do their parts to mark Earth Day this year, along with thousands of others in dozens of events throughout the Capital Region.
Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. It falls on April 22 every year, but most groups and organizations are marking the event this weekend.
Lieber, 32, and Race, 26, residents of Liberty ARC’s Birch Street home in Canajoharie, will join others Saturday to collect garbage and other items along the Canalway Trail off Mitchell Street, starting at 10 a.m.
This is their first Earth Day effort and they are looking forward to it, said home Supervisor Jim DiMezza. “It should be a good day for the guys,” he said.
The budding environmentalists hope to spend a couple of hours on the task. “We will head east for a couple of hours to see how far we get,” DiMezza said.
The men volunteered for the effort as a way to say thank you to Canajoharie, DiMezza said. “The community has been good to us, and we would like to give back to the community as part of helping out and to let the community know about the folks here at Liberty,” he said.
The event is listed on the Web sites of the state Canal Corp., of the Parks & Trails New York and the state Environmental Facilities Corp. It is one of at least 60 scheduled events Saturday and Sunday to commemorate Earth Day as part of the third annual Canal Clean Sweep.
One of the Saratoga County Canal Clean Sweep events is the second Crescent Park Clean Sweep on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. Organizer Henrietta O’Grady said 35 people helped last year, including 25 Scouts. They filled 10 large trash bags with debris, she said. O’Grady hopes for a similar turnout this year. “It helps clean up the banks of the river,” she said.
At the Mabee Farm on Route 5 in Rotterdam Junction, the Environmental Clearinghouse will hold its fourth annual Earth Day Celebration on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The event will feature more than a dozen exhibitors, including the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and vendors of renewable energy products, as well as environmental and educational groups.
The free event also will feature activities for children and adults, such as singing, storytelling, dowsing and drumming. There will be tours of the historic Mabee Farm and of the Onrust, a replica 17th century boat under construction at the farm, nature walks and a presentation by Keepers of the Circle on medicinal and edible wild plants.
Organizers expect this year’s turnout to exceed last year’s total of 700 people, due to the forecast of good weather and a growing awareness of environmental issues.
“Earth Day was huge during the 1970s and it fizzled during the 1980s. Gas was cheap and cars were big then. But in the last two years, there has been a resurgence in it,” said Patrick Clear, executive director of the Environmental Clearinghouse, also known as Ecos. Ecos is a nonprofit education group with an environmental mission.
Clear said he hopes Earth Day raises awareness of environmental issues and topics. “A lot of people don’t know what Earth Day means anymore. It is about the Earth and bringing people in contact with the issues that can help it,” he said.
Mabee Site Manager Pat Barrot said the annual event has grown over the years as people become more aware of the need to preserve the environment. “Just look around, read the paper, look at the price of gas,” she said. “It is a wonderful idea to raise awareness of the Earth and protect the environment. Everyone should be aware.”
Awareness of Earth Day starts early at the Albany Academies. The kindergarten class of Kristy Mahar spent the school year getting ready for the annual event.
The class of 10 children raised more than $275 to purchase a tree and will plant it Saturday on school grounds.
This is Mahar’s third year with the project, and the amount raised this year is twice that raised during the initial year, said Academy spokeswoman Ann Wendth.
Mahar is teaching the importance of the helping the environment, about diversity and how the children can help make the world a better place, Wendth said.
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