Roll Up Your Sleeves and Have Fun!

by Lina Younes

River-CleanupHow many times do you want to do something special on the weekend to enjoy the great outdoors? How many times do you want to volunteer to give back to the community? How often do you look for special outings where the entire family can have some fun while enjoying the fresh air? Well, this Saturday, September 25th, there will be numerous opportunities throughout the country, including Puerto Rico, to volunteer. There are two major events, National Public Lands Day (NPLD) and International Coastal Cleanup Day (ICC) taking place at a park or waterfront near you, I’m not talking exclusively about big expansive lands with majestic vistas. These public lands can be at an urban park in your very neighborhood.

This year, EPA will be joining forces with the National Environmental Education Foundation to encourage employees to volunteer for these park cleanups and plant some trees. For those of us living the Washington metropolitan area we will have an added bonus. Administrator Lisa P. Jackson will be joining us this Saturday morning at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens in Washington, DC. I had been meaning to go to this park for quite some time, but never actually ventured there. Now I will have a chance to roll up my sleeves and have some fun doing something positive for the environment.

Also this Saturday, not far from Kenilworth Park, some of my colleagues will be volunteering at another event in Anacostia as part of the International Coastal Cleanup Day effort. For that occasion, EPA will be partnering with the Ocean Conservancy to remove debris from our waterways. We urge you to search both sites to find events where you can take the whole family.

Coincidentally, yesterday I attended a meeting on environmental education where EPA’s Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe spoke about the importance of hands-on activities to instill the values of environmental stewardship and conservation among our youth. I would like to share the quote with you: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” Hopefully these volunteer events this weekend will serve as opportunities to make our children environmentally responsible citizens at an early age

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

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