When the COVID pandemic changed life as we knew it in 2020, many people spent more time in nature than ever before. Ironically, however, the restrictions on gatherings made it impossible to have any type of large-scale celebration of Earth Day’s 50th anniversary.
With Earth Day 2021–officially April 22–fast approaching, local organizations are once again planning roadside and other outdoor cleanup events to spruce up the parks, bike paths and hiking trails that have been so popular throughout the pandemic.
The first event is a trail cleanup at Sand Island in Bethlehem this Saturday, April 17 from 10 a.m. to noon.
The cleanup is being hosted by the Coalition for Appropriate Transportation, which is a Bethlehem-based charity that encourages and educates people about bicycling, walking, local trails and public transportation in the Lehigh Valley.
The cleanup will target a stretch of the walking path on Sand Island spanning from the Ice House playground to the basketball courts. Attendees are encouraged to dress warmly and wear waterproof shoes.
Volunteers should also bring work gloves, water and trash grabbers or a large pool skimmer net if they own one.
Event organizers said coffee and lunch will be provided. Those wishing to take advantage of the free coffee must bring their own bottle or mug.
Attendees are required to wear a face mask and observe social distancing at the cleanup.
Interested individuals may RSVP on the event’s Facebook page. Currently, more than 100 people have expressed interest in attending.
On Saturday, April 24, the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor and National Canal Museum are hosting a D&L Trail Tenders volunteer work day in Hugh Moore Park in Easton.
“We’ll be working in small groups outside on projects such as painting, laying stone around our portico, litter pick-up and gardening,” the National Heritage Corridor says on their webpage for the event.
Attendees are required to pre-register for the event. Participation will be limited to 40 volunteers, so those interested in attending should register as soon as possible. Individuals can register for the event on the National Heritage Corridor’s website.
COVID precautions will also be in place at the cleanup. Attendees will be required to wear masks and maintain distancing of at least six feet.
Organizers are also asking that volunteers stay home if they are feeling ill, experiencing COVID symptoms or have been in contact with anyone who has COVID or may potentially have the virus.
Also on April 24, LehighValleyTrashPact (LVTP) is celebrating their one-year anniversary with another cleanup event at Sand Island.
The event will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Event organizers encourage attendees to stop by for however long they want.
“Come by just to support and maybe buy some merchandise or donate supplies, etc.!” the event’s Facebook page says. “Or grab your gloves and a bag and get to work.”
LVTP has also teamed up with FD Market in Emmaus for an ongoing event called LV Earth Month.
Individuals who wish to participate in the event must take a picture of their own nature cleanup, post it to Instagram with the hashtag #LVEarthMonth and tag FD Market and LVTP in the post. Participants will be entered into a giveaway.
LVTP also continues to host park cleanups throughout the Lehigh Valley.
“The regular park cleanups are going on still, and the volunteer numbers have been really going up!” said the organization’s founder, Kyra Thompson.
Here at Saucon Source we’re observing Earth Day with our 51st episode of No Rain Date, in which we’ll talk to Christopher Kocher, President of PA Wildlands Conservancy, about the ways his organization is helping to preserve the natural environment in the Lehigh Valley and beyond.
Keep an eye out for our special Earth Day episode, which will be released on April 22.