By Annalisa Damley

More than 190 countries observe Earth Day and it is said to be the largest secular holiday in the world, celebrated by a billion people every year.

On Saturday, April 23, the Upper Eastside NET Office, under the direction of Administrator Sharie Blanton, hosted a celebration of Earth Day at Legion Park. It was a fantastic day filled with activities that supported the environment and celebrated being outdoors and enjoying Mother Nature. The DJ got things cracking with an anthology of Prince’s music sparking conversations and nostalgia among all. Families rolled up their sleeves and got creative at the Recycled Art Contest. Miniature orange aprons were donned at the Home Depot booth and little ones got busy hammering together and painting tiny buggies. Kids played sports, adults did yoga and everyone chowed down at the Upper Eastside Farmers Market’s many vendors selling scrumptious food. organized a shoreline cleanup of the bay. Visitors were taken on a tour of Legion Park to learn about its many different trees. This was followed up with a scavenger hunt to test who was listening on the tour: One, Two, Three Find That Tree! In addition, the city did a fruit tree giveaway – 2 per city resident! Ensuring that no one was parched, American Water Works Association stationed the Quench Buggy on-site to refill water and the NET office provided reusable bottles for all!

The Mounted Patrol was a huge hit as was the fire truck. Kids learned never to stand behind the hindquarters of a horse or play with matches for fun!

In keeping with the Earth Day theme, a host of terrific vendors joined the Farmers Market that day selling natural fertilizer, handcrafted jewelry, natural skincare, plant endangered species, vegan food, local organic popcorn, pet accessories and sun protection shirts to name just a few. The Biscayne Vet Center instructed attendees on the importance of keeping our furry friends healthy by neutering and spaying.

Residents got the opportunity to meet with their HOAs and the MiMo Biscayne Association who had booths at the event along with several stellar organizations who do so much for our city and county, including Pelican Harbor Seabird Station, FIU Southeast Environmental Research Center, Miami-Dade AHEC and the local chapter of the Sierra Club. Belle Meade HOA embraced the Earth Day theme arriving with their own handmade and interactive poster which determined “How Green Are You?” Well done Belle Meade! No surprise, most of us need to reduce, reuse and recycle more often as well as use mass transit or walk or bike.

Thank you to the NET office along with the Solid Waste Department and the many other city departments involved for hosting this great event. We all learned more about keeping our environment healthy. Thank you to the visitors and the volunteers who participated as well. Most of all, thank you to Mother Earth who gave us a beautiful sunny day to enjoy Earth Day at Legion Park!

To quote Wendell Berry, “The earth is what we all have in common.”



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