Years ago, before “Earth Day” existed, there was movement in many US cities that became Earth Day.
I was part of that first fledging effort. (It was more than 35 years ago—I know, because I was still in HS. (and I was long out of HS 35 years ago!)
Our project, involved a clean up effort in the Bronx Botanical Gardens. It was a day out of school—and what a glorious day it turned out to be.. warm, but not hot, sunny, and the Gardens where close to being the most magnificent..
More flower bloom (in the NY area) in May than any other month, and a warm spring had early lilac blooming with late daffodils and tulips. Many of the trees were in full bloom too, from the stately tulip trees in the allay at the gardens administrative building to a dozen varieties of magnolia's and many fruit trees.
Our task was to fill a large 'lawn and leaf' type bag with garbage.. (not plant matter, but candy wrappers and soda bottles (at that time, there was no refund/recycling of bottles in NYC) –Sadly, I was able to fill 2 bags in 2 hours.. But the field trip had us scheduled for 4 hours.. (most of the school day!) and since I was a 'walker' (I lived less than a mile from school--and less than a mile from the Botanical gardens) I was 'dismissed' as soon as I had filled 1 bag!
I spend the most of the rest of the school day in the Gardens, I love them, and considered them my 'backyard' –and for a city girl, who grew up in apartments, I know a lot about plants and gardening and learned most of it from my frequent forays into the Gardens.
The bonus came a few weeks later, when all the volunteers were invited to a reception at Wave Hill Environmental Center at the Wave Hill (it was a brand new park then).Another day out of school, (with out cutting classes) and it too was a sunny day.
There were gardens to explore, and food, and champagne.. (and of course I took a glass...no one thought to question--the legal drinking age was 18 then, and we HS students were a very small part of the goings on. When it was noticed, (and that wasn't till I was on my second glass!) I was chastised by a teacher--but by then, what could she do?
Well talk about catching more flies with honey.. Who wouldn't be environmentalist with that kind of introduction? 2 glorious days out school, and champagne to boot!
NYC is home to several wonderful Botanical Gardens. The Brooklyn Gardens are spectacular, and well known, the Queens Gardens, (newer, and becoming year after year, more delightful) and the Bronx Gardens, my favorite still. There is another Botanical Garden on Staten Island, that I've haven't yet visited.
If you don't have any nearby gardens to visit today (or if the weather is less than optimal) take a virtual tour of these gardens, (or your favorite)