1st UNA Earth Day Celebration Is Rousing Success

Earth Day Celebrated University Neighborhood Style

In the time it took for UCR’s coffee truck to back into a stall, fresh scones, instant  curb-appeal-in-pots, a plant exchange, free fruit tree nursery and a resource exchange sprang up in Goodwin’s parking lot.

It didn’t take long for neighbors to show up, get connected and get into action. Even as more plants started showing up, other plants, pots, and free fruit trees were being loaded into cars and disappearing. (See the happy gardener in the photo above and her free fruit tree.)

Many fruit trees were available courtesy of Parkview Nursery and Riverside Public Utilities‘ forward thinking sustainability program. That really says “Earth Day” in a uniquely Riverside way, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t it be great if that program was adopted county wide?

A first wave of early bird students arrived and tackled a yard on Watkins Drive that really loved getting some attention. Jeff Kraus of UCR came by and joined them. The street scape transformation was underway.

Other neighbors cleared several bags of silt and debris left after December’s rains from  the storm drain in the median at Big Springs and Watkins Drive. There was general agreement that the asphalt in the median with the stop sign needs to be removed and the median landscaped.

With just a few neighbors, on a Saturday morning, some rock, neighborhood succulents and native plants off of the RCRCD’s plant list and we’d have another instant ‘places into spaces‘ moment. Andy Melendrez (also in attendance) said he’d talk to public works.

With the second wave of students and every tool available from Keep Riverside Clean and Beautiful, the yard makeover progressed. Bags of weeds piled up and a second team working with Friends Of Riverside’s Hills picked -up trash along Watkins Drive,  Coyote Hill and the arroyo – until lunch.

With more than enough Ray’s Pizza arriving, students and neighbors were treated to some creative combinations and gallons of fresh squeezed, right off the tree lemonade.

The student group working on the yard makeover didn’t quite finish. However, they were so inspired by the impact they were making that they plan to finish next month at the Great American Clean Up Event.

Kevin Dawson delivered the first trailer of mulch courtesy of Burtech Industries.  Ripe as it was, it was much appreciated and peaked additional interest from neighbors interested in using mulches. We get to add back to the soil some of the green waste from our yards. In the process, we use less water and reduce work by utilizing this natural process. And the resources are free  to  us.

A second neighbor with a gateway yard to the neighborhood is game for a make over. Plans are afoot.  Looks like we’re going to be using up those 40 yards of  mulch.

When the day’s events were complete, parking lots were cleared of litter, neighbors were connected and twenty students had begun a transformation that will leave an impact and a lasting legacy in our neighborhood.

These hardworking  students are in for a treat when they finish Ray and Yvonne’s yard. Ray owns Ray’s Barbecue and he can’t wait to share his  his mastery of grill and sauce with an amazing barbecue.

This is what a neighborhood of our dreams looks like, right now! Just wait until next month.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.