Earth Day Rockaway

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Earth Month may be over, but Rockaway Waterfront Alliance (RWA) kept April’s ‘green’ spirit alive through the first Saturday in May. RWA’s Earth Day Rockaway took place this year on May 5 in the Hip-Hop Community Garden and inside the Rockaway Institute for a Sustainable Environment (RISE). RWA’s 12th Annual celebration, Earth Day Rockaway, continues to be one of our biggest events, if not the biggest, each year.

This year, over 15 partner groups came out to table and host fun activities. Rockaway Artists Alliance got their hands dirty making some seed bombs, while next to them Swim Strong provided information about free swim lessons and gave out cool looking goggles. Riverhead foundation was a huge hit again, presenting a mock dolphin rescue, and Surfrider Foundation helped kids learn how to stand on a surfboard!

RWA put a new spin on the event with a variety of scheduled workshops and performances throughout the day. First up was a composting workshop with Queens Botanical Garden. Master Composter Candidate Julian McKinley led a 25-minute lesson that taught both adults and kids alike how to manage, care for, and best practices for maintaining a composting system at home. While some were squeamish of the smell, a host of kids from local PS104 picked up trowels and started chopping up food waste and browns!

After the composting lesson, a slew of workshops and performances occurred inside RWA’s RISE Building. Kim Holmes from Everybody Dance Now taught a fun, hip-hop dance routine that had kids moving, jumping, and even dabbing! Next, local double dutch team Stan’s Pepper Steppers kept the crowd in good spirits. Not only did they show off their mind-boggling stunts and jump speeds, but they also got the audience in on the action, including RWA staff members!

Up next was Vinny Voltage’s Science Show. Exclamations of wonder from the audience abounded as Vinny made a cloud in a bottle and turned liquid into solid in an instant!  Closing out the day was Wayne ‘Superius’ Garland’s magic show. There were more dropped jaws from the audience as water disappeared before their eyes, and one-dollar bills turned into fives!

While the show went on inside, tabling and activities continued outside. Participants in RWA’s Shore Corps and Environmentor programs hosted four tables themselves. Some teens were managing a plant giveaway station, while others were making UV bracelets and art with kids. Still others were managing staple activities for the organization: face painting and the infamous smoothie bike! Face painting, as per usual, had a long line throughout the day, while the smoothie bike continued to be a big hit as well. On the menu this year? Strawberry, blueberry, and banana smoothies made with almond milk. Some kale from RWA’s very own hydroponics system was also thrown in! You can’t get food more local than that.

Also of interest this year was the table for the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay. Helen Cheng, Coastal Resilience Extension Specialist, conducted interviews for her Jamaica Bay Podcast series. “I got some really cool stories today. I wasn’t sure if people would be open to this but I’m so glad they were. I even got some stories from people who are excited to move to Rockaway and start a new life here,” Helen said. 

All in all, RWA was happy with another successful Earth Day Rockaway full of fun, laughter, and learning. Staff members are already looking forward to making next year’s event even better!

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