Friday, December 06, 2013 6:15 AM
Photo courtesy of Epiphany Episcopal Church. Epiphany Episcopal Church members participate in the 2012 "Clean Up, Green Up" event.
Published on: Wednesday, September 11, 2013
By Tracey Gold Bennett
While it may seem like only yesterday when Prince George’s County residents participated in the first “Clean Up, Green Up” event, it is time to prepare for the successful countywide environmental program again.
This will be the third year for Clean Up Green Up.
On Oct. 19, neighborhoods, schools and organizations will join forces again in an effort to make Prince George’s County more beautiful. Clean Up, Green Up is a collaboration between Keep Prince George’s County Beautiful and Prince George’s County Public Schools. The registration deadline for participation is Friday.
Photo courtesy of ECO City Farms. Margarita Morgan-Hubbard, CEO of ECO City Farms in Edmonston, sees "Clean Up, Green Up" as a great introduction to methods of protecting and preserving the environment.
“Clean Up Green Up is an annual tradition that allows thousands of our citizens and residents to participate in beautifying and keeping our County green for future generations," County Executive Rushern L. Baker III said. " By planting trees and shrubs, we create a clean, healthy environment in which our citizens can live, work and play. With the deadline to register looming, I encourage families, students, and community groups to participate in this wonderful event.”
The massive cooperative “green” effort will aid in cleaning up litter and debris and planting more foliage in the county. Residents, municipalities, businesses, schools and homeowner organizations are expected to participate in the countywide beautification program.
Ken Harris lives in Lanham with his wife and daughter. Harris said he cares about the attractiveness of his own yard and that of his neighborhood.
“It is important to us to have beautiful/pretty things planted, but it would be even nicer if the county took care of the things that are already growing on the streets and sidewalks,” he said.
Harris grew up in Prince George’s County and then moved to California after graduating from the University of Maryland. Seven years ago, he moved back to the area live in the same house that he grew up in.
“When we first returned to Lanham, I paid $250 out of my own pocket to have the trees in the grass walkway trimmed because I got no response from the county to come out and inspect how the branches were leaning on the power and telephone lines,” he said.
Planting in the yard is sometimes a family project, but the major responsibility usually falls on Harris, he said.
“[Planting] is mostly an assignment given to me, and often I will recruit my 10-year-old daughter Lauren to assist,” he said.
ECO City Farms — and educational, not-for-profit enterprise located inside the Capital Beltway in Prince George’s County — was designed to serve as a prototype for sustainable local farming.
Eco City Farms CEO Margarita Morgan-Hubbard sees programs like Clean Up, Green Up as an excellent foray into protecting and preserving the environment.
“The county is still very lush and green with many opportunities to grow its own food and treasure its environment,” she said. “The environment must be restored, reclaimed, protected and preserved. It’s what gives us life and vitality.”
While ECO City’s major farm is in Edmonston, the organization is poised for growth and expansion. Morgan-Hubbard said the organization is creating a second farm in Bladensburg at the Autumn Woods Apartments.
“The county executive toured ECO City Farms last year when exploring green businesses and greening the county,” she said.
Not sure about what to do to beautify your neighborhood? The county, through the Department of Public Works and Transportation, will work with groups to provide landscaping ideas, materials, proper planting instructions of trees, shrubs and flowers, as well as litter collection supplies.
Clean Up, Green Up supports a countywide initiative to make communities cleaner and greener by conducting individual community plantings and coordinating beautification activities throughout Prince George’s County.
Though individuals can participate, the event is mainly geared toward groups such as home owners associations, schools and civic associations.
During the first year of the event, residents saw the planting of red-hued crepe myrtle trees, daffodils, sea green junipers, and willow oak trees thanks to the green initiative.
Morgan-Hubbard offered this advice for people who may be just beginning to take an interest in the “greening” of their environment: “The environment is not something abstract and distant — it is our home, our communities, our trees, our water, ourselves. If you want to get involved, take a look around you and see how you can help restore health and beauty to your community. If you want help and ideas, come visit us at ECO City Farms.”
If your neighborhood or organization would like to participate in the third annual Clean Up, Green Up event, complete the online application — available on the county’s website — and email or mail it by Friday.