Westchester County is home to a vast array of parks, nature preserves, and wildlife refuges. From the lush forests of Ward Pound Ridge Reservation to the sandy beaches of Playland Park, there is no shortage of opportunities to enjoy the natural beauty of the region. Every year, on April 22nd, the world comes together to celebrate Earth Day and take action to protect the planet. Westchester County takes this opportunity to encourage its residents to participate in Pitch in for Parks, a county-wide initiative that helps maintain and beautify local parks and trails.
Pitch In For Parks
The County’s Pitch in for Parks initiative is a great way for residents to get involved in their community and help protect the environment. This event is usually held on the Saturday closest to Earth Day and offers a variety of activities for volunteers of all ages. The program, organized by the Westchester County Parks Department, brings together volunteers from across the county to work on various projects in local parks and nature preserves to celebrate our planet and promote environmental conservation.
Pitch in for Parks offers a great opportunity for individuals, families, and groups to get involved in their community and make a positive impact on the environment. Some of the activities that volunteers can participate in include litter cleanups, trail maintenance, tree planting, and invasive species removal. By working together, volunteers can help keep our parks and natural areas clean and healthy for all to enjoy.
Other Conservation Activities
Of course, celebrating Earth Day doesn’t have to be limited to a single day or event. In addition to Pitch in for Parks, there are many other Earth Day activities that take place throughout Westchester County. Visit Sustainable Westchester for a list of activities taking place in April and May
Another popular event in Westchester is the annual Riverkeeper Sweep which takes place along the Hudson River and its tributaries. The event brings together thousands of volunteers to clean up litter and debris from the shoreline, helping to protect the river and its wildlife. The Riverkeeper Sweep is a great way to get involved in environmental conservation while enjoying the natural beauty of the Hudson River.
Looking for fun ways to get the little ones involved? There are plenty of educational and informative events taking place throughout the county. For example, the Greenburgh Public Library is hosting an Earth Day storytime as well as a hands-on activity for children and familieson April 19th. You can also head to the Westchester Children’s Museum for their Earth Day Earthlings program and participate in crafts and activities by natures elements – earth, air, wind, and fire.
Similarly, if you’re not interested in crafting, but love art, head to the Rye Arts Center. Inspired by the natural world, Lynn Mara’s “Good Ground” exhibit at The Rye Arts Center, explores the balance between human activity and nature.
Update: I Pitched In Too!
This year, my family chose to beautify Peekskill. We helped clean up Depew Park in the morning and also participated in Pitch in for Parks at Peekskill’s 1,500-acre Blue Mountain Reservation in the afternoon. Both parks are popular destination for hikers, bikers, and nature enthusiasts.
Each event started with a welcome and safety briefing from the park staff, followed by a demonstration of the tools and techniques we would be using for the day’s projects. At Blue Mountain, our group was assigned to removing invasive plant species. Other groups picked up litter and tended to recently planted trees. It was a great chance to connect with like-minded people who care about the environment and the importance of preserving our natural spaces. I met so many amazing volunteers that day, from families with young children to retirees who had been participating in Pitch in for Parks for years.
Blue Mountain Reservation is just one of the many parks and nature preserves that participate in Pitch in for Parks. Other locations include Cranberry Lake Preserve in West Harrison, Muscoot Farm in Katonah, and Rockefeller State Park Preserve in Pleasantville. Each location offers a unique opportunity to get involved in different projects, from litter cleanups to invasive species removal to tree planting.
Other Ways to Pitch In
Of course, celebrating Earth Day doesn’t have to be limited to a single day or event. There are plenty of ways that residents of Westchester County can make a difference in their community and promote environmental sustainability year-round. Some simple actions that individuals can take include:
Reduce, reuse, and recycle: By minimizing waste and recycling materials whenever possible, residents can help reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and promote sustainable resource use.
Conserve energy: Simple actions like turning off lights when leaving a room, using energy-efficient appliances, and weatherizing homes can help reduce energy use and promote sustainability.
Use sustainable transportation: Walking, biking, and using public transportation are all great ways to reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainable transportation options.
Support local businesses: By shopping at local farmers markets and supporting environmentally-conscious businesses, residents can help promote sustainability and support their local community.
Whether it’s participating in community cleanups, supporting local businesses, or simply taking steps to reduce waste and conserve energy, there are plenty of ways to make a positive impact on the environment and promote sustainability. So why not get involved and make a difference?