“The old ash furniture was rotting away and had become unsafe,” said Environmental Services Coordinator Paul D’Agostino, “so we created new furniture using maple logs for the chairs and honeylocust for the tables this time, as these should last longer. Eventually the tables and chairs will be moved behind the building.”RoundTable photos

On the day before official Earth Day, April 21, residents cleared the debris of winter, planted and planned in preparation and hope for belated spring warmth.

Earth Day, Worm Compost
At a learning station at the Ecology Center, children could learn about a quick and for the most part odorless way to compost food scraps with worms. Living among shredded paper, soil and smallish food scraps, these worms are more aggressive than typical earthworms, said Kathleen, who works at the Ecology Center. “The worms break the food scraps down pretty quickly. I’ve had one for 15 years, and the bin can be inside, under the sink.” If there is too much food in the bin, there will be fruit flies, she added.

The potting bench at the Ecology Center was another place for kids to get their hands dirty. Erika Daroghazi helped them plant seeds of native flowers, pointing out that each seed is distinct.

 The Last Straw
Edible Evanston’s orchard, kitty-corner and then some from the Ecology Center, was a demonstration center for sustainable gardening. Straw bales can be a perfect medium for growing plants and flowers. The straw acts as mulch, holding moisture and deterring weeds, and the compact bales do not take up a lot of space.

School Bags
The partnership between the Evanston Township High School Community Service Department and Kiwanis Club helps keep Evanston beautiful. Kiwanian Jim Wolinski and ETHS Community Service Coordinator Mary Collins have been organizing the Earth Day clean-up every spring for 10 years. Their efforts have allowed more than 400 students and community members to collect hundreds of pounds of trash and recyclables from Evanston streets. This event serves not only as a way to bring Evanstonians together for a good cause, but also raises awareness about the importance of residents getting involved and keeping our neighborhoods clean.

On April 21, more than 40 ETHS students and staff, Kiwanians, Second Ward Alderman Peter Braithwaite and Fifth Ward Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, Fire Chief Brian Scott and ETHS parents and siblings braved the cold to pitch in.

ETHS alumni Lloyandra Cooper (‘08), Mary Collins (‘84), Kevin Kelly (‘70) and Jim Wolinski (‘70) helped organize the event. Ms. Cooper, Ms. Collins and ETHS staff organized ETHS student involvement while Mssrs. Kelly and Wolinski organized Kiwanians and food.

Kiwanians Joan Hickman, Betty Heite, Marian Kurz, Jim Wolinski and Kevin Kelly contributed food, hot cocoa, water, trash/recycling bags, reusable gloves and reusable t-shirts for the event.  All volunteers received “Kits Care” hats provided by the ETHS Boosters.