Community cleanup planned for April 23
An Earth Month Spring Cleanup & Social (SC&S) is planned for Sunday, April 23, 2 to 5 p.m.
Sponsored by FutureHeights, Coventry Neighborhood Group, and the Cleveland Heights Green Team (CHGT), SC&S is a communitywide event that invites residents, neighborhood groups, schools, business districts, and faith-based organizations to come together to act. Its goal is to pair community service with community-building, through outreach and inclusion, while promoting environmental awareness and stewardship.
According to Catalina Wagers, co-founder of CHGT, actions can range from helping an elderly neighbor spruce up their yard, to neighborhood litter cleanups, prepping community garden beds, and more.
According to Coventry resident Cole Ware, Coventry Neighborhood Group was inspired to be of service to its neighborhood as part of its community-building efforts. This spark of an idea—to pair socializing with environmental action—ignited a plan for organizing SC&S during Earth Month.
“When Cole shared this idea with us, we saw it as something that could be scaled across the entire Heights community,” said Wagers.
Cindie Carroll-Pankhurst, one of the founding members of the Millikin Neighborhood Group, said that group is recruiting neighbors to undertake three efforts for the April 23 SC&S event: cleaning up Millikin Woods, cleaning up along Andrews Road, and reaching out to MetroHealth and Spectrum to address the amount of trash that blows from their Severance facilities into the adjacent woods.
“Our group was formed in response to safety concerns," said Carroll-Pankhurst, "then realized that community-building was essential to improve safety and to protect our green spaces. The community was a forceful advocate for the preservation of the woods, threatened by efforts to sell the woods for development and later by MetroHealth’s expansion at Severance."
Last year during Earth Month, CHGT crowdsourced 55 environmentally focused events across the Heights. “The strong response from the community serves as evidence that building community through action and environmental advocacy are organically interconnected,” noted Wagers.
For additional information about the April 23 SC&S, and to add an event to the day's lineup, visit www.chgreenteam.org.
Natalie Elwell, co-founder of CHGT, is director of gender equity practice at World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C. She lives in Cleveland Heights, works remotely, and dedicates her free time to advocate for environmental protection and activism.