Area Earth Day Clean Up Events Start This Weekend

BERLIN – A slew of celebrations and cleanup activities to honor Earth Day will take place across the Eastern Shore in the coming weeks.

In conjunction with Earth Day, which takes place April 22, several local communities and organizations are encouraging residents and businesses to participate in annual spring cleanup and celebration events.

On Saturday, April 7, for example, the Town of Ocean City, the Maryland Coastal Bays Program (MCBP) and the Ocean City Surf Club will host its ninth annual Earth Day Clean Up.

Sandi Smith of the MCBP said community cleanups, such as the one found in Ocean City, raise public awareness of pollution.

“You don’t really see trash until you pick it up,” she said. “It changes your behavior. So the more exposure these cleanups get and the more people get involved, the better the results will be.”

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Smith noted that two college classes, as well as students from Stephen Decatur High School’s Connections Club have already signed up to participate in this weekend’s cleanup. She said in recent years participation has increased from 50 volunteers to nearly 200.

“You don’t think about the impact, but it’s significant,” she said.

Ocean City’s Earth Day Clean Up will begin at 10 a.m. on April 7. Gloves, bags and a commemorative t-shirt will be provided while supplies last.

Smith said participants can preregister with the MCBP or register the day of the cleanup. Check in and registration on Saturday will be held in the gazebo on 3rd Street at city hall.

A cleanup area will be assigned at registration unless an area of preference is given.

For more information, email Sandi Smith at sandis@mdcoastalbays.org or call 410-213-2297 ext. 106. Volunteer hours will count for community service.

In addition, as part of the planned cleanup weekend, Ocean City is offering its annual community yard sale on Saturday, April 7 from 7 a.m.-noon at Northside Park. Vendor spots are available for residents and property owners only. Space is limited. To register stop by the Northside Park Community Center or call 410-250-0125.

Further inland, Berlin residents and businesses will have the opportunity to help their neighbors, beautify their neighborhoods, pick up trash, plant flowers and more during the town’s annual Take Pride in Berlin Week April 21-28.

Mary Bohlen, the town’s administrative services director, said five years ago the town expanded its spring cleanup day to a week-long celebration.

“During the week, we encourage people to do whatever means something to them,” she said.

The week will kick off with a community-wide cleanup day on Saturday, April 21. Volunteers will join town staff and the Berlin Parks Commission at Stephen Decatur Park, Henry Park and Berlin Falls Park to clean up, trim trees and shrubs, pull weeds and more. A free lunch will be provided by SonRise Church.

“Berlin has exceptional parks for a town this small and people view this as an opportunity to give back,” she said.

For more information, contact Mary Bohlen at mbohlen@berlinmd.gov or 410-641-4314, or visit the Take Pride in Berlin Week Facebook page.

In Sussex County, the Town of Fenwick Island will also host an Earth Day cleanup April 21 from 9-11:30 a.m.

Colleen Wilson, a member of the town’s Environmental Committee, said this year’s event will include a community-wide cleanup, educational exhibits and drawings for raffle and door prizes.

“It’s gotten a little bit bigger each year,” she said, adding that this year’s cleanup will include the unincorporated areas of Fenwick Island.

Wilson said volunteers will meet at Fenwick Island Town Hall the day of the cleanup.

“One of the beauties of Fenwick Island is it’s such a small, pristine community and this is an effort to keep it as such,” Wilson said. “There are lots of little bits of trash that have accumulated over the wintertime … so we are hoping we can pick it up and get ready for the summer.”

For more information, visit fenwickisland.delaware.gov or the town’s Facebook page.

Earth Day celebrations will also be held at both the Pocomoke River State Park and the Salisbury Zoo.

At the south end of Worcester County, the Pocomoke River State Park will host its 21st Annual Tortoise and Hare Dare 5K Walk/Run, along with a native garden cleanup, on April 21. For more information, or to register for the race, call 410-632-0056.

In Wicomico County, the Salisbury Zoo will hold its annual Earth Day Celebration on April 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition to exhibitors, activities include zookeeper talks, recycled craft activities, face painting and animal meet and greets. The event is free and open to the public.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.