Doing Our Part for the Planet: Earth Day Services

buildOn operates in some of the most polluted areas in the United States, from the South Side of Chicago to the Bronx, where environmental racism impacts their everyday lives. That’s why our students are particularly motivated to take on environmentally-focused service projects, like cleaning up parks and tending to local urban gardens.

While our students participate in environmental service year-round, our planet took center stage this week for Earth Day. From the East Coast to the West, buildOn students did their part to make their neighborhoods a little cleaner and healthier, and continued to make green spaces more accessible to their neighbors. Here are just a few of the highlights!

Boston: Cleaning the Charles

In Boston, buildOn students from Community Academy of Science and Health (CASH) High School picked up trash along a section of the Charles River in partnership with Charles River Conservancy. The Conservancy, which is based in Cambridge, is committed to maintaining natural urban environments along Boston’s central river.

New York: Wading in the Water

In New York City, buildOn Bronx students and staff spent Earth Day removing trash from the Bronx River with Bronx River Alliance. They not only picked up litter on the banks of the river, but donned waders and got into the mud to remove trash from the river itself! It was hard, but rewarding work to clean up a well-loved Bronx watershed. Students also helped beautify Joyce Kilmer Park and plant fruits and vegetables at Kelly Street Garden in the South Bronx, and walked dogs at Sean Casey Animal Shelter in Brooklyn.

Chicago: Park Protectors

buildOn Chicago students gathered at Dvorak Park as part of a city-wide event in collaboration with the Chicago Park District and Friends of the Parks (FOTP). Parks across Chicago hosted their own clean-ups with community members to celebrate Earth Day. 

Students cleaned up litter and tended to planters around the park, which is in the heart of Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. Their efforts made a big difference in one of the city’s most polluted areas!

Oakland: De-Littering the Lake

Out west, buildOn students from Oakland High School spent the weekend at Lake Merritt, picking up trash and removing it from the water using nets with the Lake Merritt Institute at Lakeside Park. Just like their colleagues on the other side of the country, these students helped clean up a vital local watershed, dubbed the “Jewel of Oakland.”

Protecting and restoring our planet and natural spaces often means getting your hands dirty or your feet wet! But when buildOn students do their part, together, they make a big impact in their communities and see firsthand the power they have to effect change.

Protecting our environment will take a collective effort! Help us keep our communities clean by making a tax-deductible donation today.