The Dundalk Renaissance Corp. and Back River Restoration Committee are pleased to celebrate the success of Eastside Earth Week, which took place from April 14-21.
Coordinated by a group of community members, the inaugural Eastside Earth Week engaged over 800 residents of the Dundalk and Essex communities in activities centered around environmental issues.
The week kicked off with Project Clean Stream, an event hosted by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. The Back River Restoration Committee, Dundalk Renaissance Corp., Clean Bread and Cheese Creek, St. Helena Community Association, St.Helena Neighborhood Association and more organizations all had major clean up events on April 14 (and other dates as well).
The BRRC and DRC alone had 17 cleanup sites for Project Clean Stream throughout the week and removed hundreds of tires and at least six Dumpsters of trash. We removed bowling balls, traffic cones, bottles, bags, cameras, bed frames, scrap metal ... you name it.
It was our most successful Project Clean Stream event ever, with over 300 volunteers participating.
State Delegate Mike Weir helped with the BRRC highway clean up, where a section of Rt. 702 is dedicated to his father former Delegate Mike Weir Sr.
Following the cleanup, St. Helena resident Duane Phillips helped assemble the weeklong educational trash art display in Veterans Park. The display was created with items dumped in the St. Helena community that were cleaned up as part of Project Clean Stream.
All week long the display encouraged viewers to think twice before littering or dumping in the Dundalk community with a banner created by a local artist which encouraged people to “Stop Trashing Our Dundalk.”
The program encouraged families and children to recycle with a successful Recycled Arts and Craft Night at the St. Helena Community Building on April 17. Participants made reusable shopping bags from old t-shirts, planters out of old bottles, origami from the Yellow Pages and plastic yarn from plastic bags.
Earth Week continued to build awareness among local residents with Oyster Night (April 18) and Clean-Green Marina Night (April 19).
Oyster Night was hosted by the BRRC in partnership with Dock of the Bay restaurant. Guests enjoyed 400 free oysters courtesy of the eatery.
While a Sparrows Point High School teacher donated his time to shuck the oysters, attendees heard Marisa Olszewski and Sandy Runyan speak on the impact of oysters and mussels on the Chesapeake Bay. The BRRC gave a recap of its year-long oyster program in Back River and the Oyster Recovery Partnership’s shell recycle program.
On Thursday evening, the DRC partnered with Anchor Bay East Marina and Hard Yacht Café to educate community members on clean boating practices and the Maryland’s Clean Marina Initiative.
Over 60 guests enjoyed hors d'oeuvres donated by the Hard Yacht Café and completed Clean Marina quizzes to earn a DRC T-shirt and be placed in a drawing for a Hard Yacht Café gift card.
Anchor Bay East Marina was a perfect location for this event as it was one of the first certified clean marinas in Maryland!
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz held a press conference on April 20 at the Back River trash boom to kick off his "Clean Green County" campaign. The campaign slogan is "Don't drop it!”
Kamenetz was joined by the BRRC, the DRC, and Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability, Channel 13, Channel 11, State Delegation Chairman John Olszewski, Jr., Delegate Mike Weir and Baltimore County Councilman John Olszewski, Sr., among many others.
You can see the campaign here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58CK2GzAJsI&feature=player_profilepage.
Kamenetz used the trash boom as the location to kick off this campaign because in the past year, we have removed 176 TONS of trash/debris from this spot.
Eastside Earth Week concluded with six community cleanups, two tree plantings and a rain barrel sale on Saturday, April 21.
The DRC partnered with the Dundalk Tenant Landlord Community Association (DTLCA) for its “Community Rat Clean Up”.
One of the missions of the DTLCA is to rid the community of rodents. They made great strides, hauling 75 bags of trash and six truckloads of bulk items out of the community with the help of over 40 volunteers from the neighborhood, Dundalk Middle School, Dundalk High School, and the Alternative Sentencing Program.
With the help of Towson University students, the St. Helena community, DRC, Old Dundalk Neighborhood Association, and Norwood Holabird Community Association were able to host three additional cleanup sites for the day, removing more than two Dumpsters of trash from the Dundalk community.
The Turner Station Conservation Team and Baltimore Port Alliance hosted a cleanup at Turner Station Park which filled a Dumpster donated by Ports America in under three hours.
During the cleanup the DRC, port employees, Turner Station residents and Towson students planted 13 trees at the Turners Station Community Garden. Through student volunteers at Dundalk High School (DHS), the DRC also had a presence at the DHS Earth Day Fair, selling discounted rain barrels to the community.
The BRRC joined the Ridgeleigh Community Association in a community cleanup and tree planting. Nearly 300 volunteers included Calvert Hall students, Boy Scouts and Towson University students. Volunteers removed two Dumpsters of trash and planted 40 trees and shrubs. Country Executive Kevin Kamenetz also joined in to plant a tree and promote the Clean Green County Campaign.
Clean Bread and Cheese Creek also hosted a cleanup at Stansbury Park with the help of the Eastfield-Stanbrook community.
Earth Week concluded with the Department of Natural Resources presenting “Scales and Tales” to a packed room at the North Point Library, supported by a Baltimore County Police Department Youth Activity Grant for which DRC serves as the nonprofit pass-through organization.
Eastside Earth Week proved successful in its ability to touch the lives of a diverse group of residents. It would not have been possible without the collaborative effort of all the organizations listed above.
Financial support for coordination of Earth Week came from the Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability and the Baltimore Community Foundation.
Special thanks to the community members who made up the Eastside Earth Week Steering Committee: Duane Phillips, Anna Thomas, Will Feuer, Monica Holliday, Brianna Smith, Marisa Olszewski, John Long, Patricia Paul, Molly Williams and Leah Bunck.