By Andy LaBar
In an effort to further the reach of this year’s Earth Day celebration and service events, The Watershed Project hired two Richmond High School students to help promote the day and engage their peers in a discussion about its history.
Zenaida Hernandez and Patricia Gonzalez, seniors at Richmond High School, answered The Watershed Project’s call for passionate youth who wanted to get more people involved in our Earth Day Creeks Challenge. Already good friends and involved in EarthTeam‘s Aqua Team, the young women jumped at the opportunity to reach out even further to their community and classmates.
“One of my teachers told me it would look good on my resume, but the positive reaction from my friends really made me want to do it,” Patricia said. “They actually thought it was cool that I was helping the city,” added Zenaida.
In order to promote The Watershed Project’s Creeks Challenge on April 23rd*, Patricia and Zenaida quickly took to passing out flyers to teachers, visiting classrooms and after-school clubs, and talking to dozens of shops along 23rd Street in Richmond in order to post flyers and get business owners’ support. They even created a Facebook event page and invited all their friends. After two days, 40 of their peers had said they would attend one of the sites.
“Working as a team has helped a lot. This type of work is brand new to us, so it probably would have been hard to do it alone. Since we’re friends we can just shout ideas to each other and then take the steps to accomplish them,” Patricia said. “It’s not only been nice to promote environmental awareness, but going around town and presenting together has been a lot of fun too,” she added.
Zenaida chimed, “And it’s given us a chance to practice presenting in Spanish. We translated all the flyers into Spanish, and have been talking with shop owners who speak very little English. The excitement and stories some of them have given us have been great. People do care about their community, they just don’t usually know how to help.”
With the incredible efforts of these young women reaching out to new groups of people, this year’s Earth Day promises to make a big impact in cleaning up our local watersheds. There are five locations at which you, your family, and your neighbors can get involved. Please bring your own bucket, gloves and boots if you have them, and help be a part of this international movement to inspire change in our behavior and keep our creeks clean.
Creeks Challenge clean up events take place from 9am-12pm at the following locations:
Verde Elementary: 2000 Giaramita St. in Richmond.
San Pablo: 2 sites, meet at the Grocery Outlet parking lot on 23rd and Brookside Ave, the main cleanup site is located adjacent to Los Primos Taqueria, and an additional site will be across Brookside at Kennedy Plaza.
Wildcat Staging Area: East Bay Regional Park, off the Richmond Parkway, between Gertrude and Pittsburg Ave.
El Sobrante: Meet at the Boys & Girls Club at 4660 Appian Way
Albany Bulb: At the end of Buchanan Street, head towards the Bay (Great for kids and big groups!).
For more information, or to RSVP (for groups of 10 or more), please contact Juliana Gonzalez at email@example.com or call 510.224.4085.
Top photo: Zenaida helping with a public mural project at the El Sobrante Library. Middle photo: Patricia and Zenaida planting at a creek restoration site. Photos courtesy of Earth Team.
*The official Earth Day 2011 falls on Friday, April 22nd.