Volunteers across Philadelphia spend Earth Day on community projects

The Philadelphia Eagles also pitched in to keep the Earth green.

Beccah Hendrickson Image
Saturday, April 22, 2023
Volunteers across Philadelphia join in community projects on Earth Day
Volunteers across Philadelphia join in community projects on Earth Day

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Communities across Philadelphia celebrated Earth Day on Saturday by working in the green spaces in their neighborhoods.

Dozens of volunteers gathered at the Glenwood Green Acres Community Garden in North Philadelphia to begin planting this year's crop.

The 3.7-acre garden is preserved from development because of people like Viery Ricketts, who has been gardening there for decades.

"I love the Earth. I love the garden, I love to plant, and I love to grow. I get all excited when I put things in the ground and it comes up," she said.

Volunteers like state Senator Shariff Street joined Ricketts and the Neighborhood Gardens Trust for the Earth Day workday.

"They benefit from all the green space, from the tree cover, from just having a lovely place to come together and build community," said Jenny Greenberg, the executive director of the Neighborhood Gardens Trust.

While volunteers there planted crops, another group gathered at Finnegan Playground for another Earth Day project.

This one was in partnership with the Philadelphia Eagles and HILCO Redevelopment Partners.

"The Philadelphia Eagles wear the color green with pride," said Jason Avant, a former wide receiver for the Eagles.

The team donated $75,000 through Touchdowns for Sustainability to help the Grays Ferry community.

"This was a bad neighborhood with a lot of gun violence, so they need safe spaces and we try to create safe spaces for them," neighborhood activist Charles Reeve said of the playground.

Beyond the playground and the Earth Day cleanup, organizers have a bigger plan for Grays Ferry. It includes transforming the old refinery site and prioritizing green space and sustainability.

"Every day is Earth Day at HILCO Redevelopment Partners," said an event speaker.

While Earth Day highlights the importance of taking care of the Earth, volunteers across the city stressed this work needs to continue all year long.

"Having a garden out here in North Philadelphia is really special," said Ricketts.