EcoPel, Pelham Eliminates Plastic host Earth Day event to share ways to be more eco-friendly

On April 23, EcoPel and Pelham Eliminates Plastic (PEP) hosted an Earth Day Festival. The event featured various immersive activities about solar energy, pollination and more to promote Earth Day. 

Westchester Land Trust coordinated a Pollinator Pop-Up, which provided a glimpse into the importance of pollination throughout the community. Sustainable Westchester offered an opportunity for community members to learn about solar energy and its benefits. The PMHS Environmental Science Club organized a planter coloring activity, giving away butterfly milkweed seedlings. Tables set up by PEP and EcoPel included an eco-friendly temporary tattoo station and lemonade served in compostable cups.

PEP partnered with EcoPel to host the event, and eventually helped bring in Sustainable Westchester, the sanitation department and other student-led organizations.

“This event is actually our second or third Earth Day event,” PEP mentor and journalist Lauren Kennedy said. “We haven’t been able to do it because of the pandemic.” 

PEP launched five years ago, and after learning about the extent of ocean pollution, Kennedy knew that she “wanted to rally young people and generate awareness.” She pointed to a new community service project organized for high schoolers between the sanitation department and the environmental science club, with an initiative to “keep Wolfs Lane Park green and clean.” 

EcoPel’s Lynda Raihofer said the group sought “to find ways to engage the community environmentally with gardening, sustainability and to bring people out… after two long years.”

In terms of upcoming projects, EcoPel has a state transportation pollinator planting project coming up, with a goal to beautify the entrances and exits of the Hutchinson River Parkway. According to Raihofer, the current date of the event is May 7, and volunteers are welcome. For those interested in getting involved, visit EcoPel’s social media: @ecopelny

Kate Dougherty, president of the high school environmental science club, said, “We were able to help sponsor PEP and the native plants table, and we wanted to incorporate a kid-friendly activity that everyone could participate in, so we had the idea of decorating pots that decompose in soil.”

Attending the event was Democratic state senate candidate Christian Amato, who weighed in on the importance of activism and environmental action as part of his campaign.

“I’ve been a longtime advocate for climate equity and coastal resiliency programs,” Amato said. “I’ve worked for a long time with many climate organizations. On my campaign and in the senate, what I’m really prioritizing is climate change and its intersectional relationship with our infrastructure.”

The primary election is June 28.