Earth Day is officially April 22, but over the years it has spread out to be celebrated on multiple days. Bedford 2030 is planning several events to commemorate Earth Day, Earth Week and Earth Month.
Because young people will bear the extra burden of experiencing the impact of climate change far into their future, many of them have committed to taking climate action in their schools, communities and personal lives. Bedford 2030 is putting some of these youth climate leaders in the spotlight with two special events.
First up, on Saturday, April 17, all are invited to attend the Greenlight Award Finals from 9 to 11:30 a.m. via Zoom. Regional high schoolers have been working since last fall to plan, design and implement a climate action project that addresses an environmental issue. Roughly 20 teams representing Fox Lane High School, John Jay High School, Horace Greeley High School and Rye Country Day School will present their final project impacts to a panel of expert judges in competition for the Greenlight Award.
The student projects include an effort to advocate for electric school buses, a more sustainable redesign of plastic bottle caps, an event for community members to safely dispose of pharmaceuticals, and an app to help people track their plastic usage, among many others.
Bedford Town Board member Ellen Calves, who previously led youth engagement programs for Bedford 2030 for five years, is a judge at this year’s Greenlight Award Finals. “It is awesome to see students empowered to take on challenging problems and work on real local solutions,” she said. “Whether Greenlight Award participants continue with their high school projects or take on a new problem to solve years from now, the program gives them the experience and tools they need to take action and lead us toward a better future.”
On Wednesday, April 21, at 7 p.m., Bedford 2030 will partner with the Bedford Playhouse to present a Next Gen Climate Leaders Panel, moderated by Bedford 2030 vice president, Sarah Douglis. Four young women will take the virtual stage to have a conversation about their experiences, perspectives, and hopes for climate action in the community and beyond. There is a $5 admission fee to support the Playhouse, but students can attend for free with the promo code B2030YCP.
“This is a great opportunity for everyone to connect with our locally-grown future leaders, activists and innovators,” said Midge Iorio, executive director of Bedford 2030.
The panelists for the evening are Sarah Kelleher, a senior at John Jay High School; Riley Hester, a sophomore at Fox Lane High School; Jasmine Sizer, a junior at Fox Lane High School; and Rachel Joseph, a second-year chemical engineering student at Northeastern University and Somers High School alumna.
“Everyone is invited to join and be inspired by these young local change-makers, and learn more about how you can take climate action now in your homes and community,” said Ms. Iorio.
On Sunday, May 2, from noon to 4 p.m., Bedford 2030 and Healthy Yards will host an Earth Day Festival at the Bedford Hills train station. The family-friendly, free event will include a plant swap, pollinator pop-up, information about herbs, composting tutorials, information on healthy and sustainable yard practices, kids’ activities and live music. There will be native plants and trees for sale; compost for sale made from Bedford food scraps as part of the Community Compost Program; and vegetables from Hilltop Hanover Farm.
According to organizer Filippine de Haan, “The plant swap is meant to offer residents an opportunity to plant native plants, herbs and veggies with a small budget.” She said there will be some items on hand that will be available for free. Social distancing and masks will be required.
Also at the festival, a “pollinator package” will be presented to Chris Soi, the town’s superintendent of recreation and parks, and Kevin Winn, the commissioner of public works, for their commitment to support sustainable management.
The Earth Day Festival is co-hosted by Westchester Land Trust, Bedford Audubon, Community Center of Northern Westchester, Hilltop Hanover Farm, Westmoreland Sanctuary, the Bedford Conservation Board and the American Herb Society-NY chapter.
Bedford 2030’s mission is to engage the community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect natural resources. For more information, visit bedford2030.org.