Urban Earth Day kickoff is held on city's east side

April 17, 2001|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

The kickoff for the 12-day Urban Earth Day celebration was held yesterday next to a healthy city garden on Baltimore's east side that used to be a vacant lot with trash, broken-down cars and violent crime.

Urban Earth Day is an observance that includes a citywide cleanup, an art show, tree planting, quilt making, speeches and storytelling.

The celebration coincides with international Earth Day, which is Sunday, and marks 31 years since environmentalists first tried to draw attention to the planet's health with a day of activities and demonstrations.

Through the years, inner cities often have been overlooked in those celebrations, which is why Urban Earth Day was created.

"Our main goal is education in the communities you might least expect people to celebrate Mother Earth," said Morning Sunday, founder and director of Baltimore's Urban Earth Day movement. "Baltimore is a great city to live in. We have to teach people to live here properly."

Sunday teaches people about recycling, lead, asthma and allergies, and air quality, she said. The kickoff for Urban Earth Day was held at the corner garden at Duncan Street and North Avenue, in the Pharaoh's Incentive community. It is surrounded by rowhouses and a mural bearing the face of Malcolm X.

Each of the garden's 34 plots is tended by an elder in the neighborhood, which is in the spirit of Urban Earth Day, Sunday said.

Children who helped plant and tend the Carmine Garden in West Baltimore's Leakin Park neighborhood attended the celebration to receive awards for their work.

Sunday passed out sunflower seeds for planting and said they represent Urban Earth Day because they need only a small patch of dirt to grow tall and straight.

Urban Earth Day has been celebrated in Baltimore since 1995.

The 12 days of events are sponsored by Earth Seed, the Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition Inc. and the Johns Hopkins Center for Environmental Health.

Friday, activities at Collington Square Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. will include music, contests, workshops about asthma and allergies, gardening tips, and free food and T-shirts. The citywide cleanup will be Saturday.

For more information about events, call Earth Seed at 410-467-2724 or HEBCAC at 410-614-4216.

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