Celebrate Earth Month

Although Earth Day is April 22, the City of Frederick’s Green Initiatives Team, along with Frederick County sustainable partners, has put together an agenda of Earth Month activities for all ages.

From movies to bike tours to cleaning up the Monocacy River bank to identifying notable trees in Frederick, celebrate the Earth by joining in. Residents can take the free My Water Pledge to sign up for hundreds of prizes including a Prius v.

Earth Month Family Movie Night is at 7 p.m. Saturday with the screening of “Mission Blue,” a family-friendly movie, at Whitaker Commons on Hood College Campus. Free refreshments will be provided.

The Bell & History Day Bike Ride is an 8-mile trek on April 11, when admission to every museum and historic site is free. Meet at the Tourism Council of Frederick County at 151 S. East St. at 9:30 a.m. Ride begins at 10 a.m.

Help clean up the banks of the Monocacy River and Rivermist Park from 9 a.m. to noon April 11, rain or shine. Meet on Monocacy Boulevard at the Monocacy River. For more information, contact Tom Goodfellow at 301-600-2508 or email tgoodfellow@frederickcountymd.gov.

Help clean up the roadside that runs through the Frederick Watershed as part of the Potomac River Watershed Cleanup from 8 a.m. to noon April 18. Sign up online at commonmarket.coop/events or call 301-663-3416.

Take the My Water Pledge pledge at www.mywaterpledge.com between April 1 and 30 and be entered to win the grand prize, a Toyota Prius v. The pledge is part of a national contest aimed at drastically slashing water and energy use across the nation.

And lastly, Jenny Willoughby, City of Frederick Sustainability Manager and arborist, will lead a walking tour around Frederick to point out notable trees, discuss the Future of Frederick’s urban forest, and how residents can help, during the Notable Trees of Frederick Walking Tour at 10 a.m. April 25. The 3-mile loop tour begins in front of Brewer’s Alley. No registration is necessary. This event is free and open to the public. For additional information, contact Willoughby at jwilloughby@cityoffrederick.com or call 301-600-2843.

Moms Clean Air Force

Susan Cochran, president of the League of Women Voters of Maryland spoke March 19 in support of clean air legislation, at the Moms’ Summit in Lawyer’s Mall. The League supports the efforts of the Moms’ Clean Air Force as part of its campaign for reducing air pollution caused by coal and oil energy production.

Twelve percent of Maryland’s children suffer from asthma, and asthma is linked to air pollution. In 2011, Maryland was ranked as the fifth worst in the nation for air pollution emitted from coal and oil burning power plants.

It isn’t just children who suffer from dirty air. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is the fourth leading cause of death in Maryland and, like asthma, is worsened by air pollution. Of course, not all air pollution is caused by burning coal and oil, but a large part of it is.

Polluted air has other deleterious health effects in children and adults. Bladder cancer, lung cancer, and cardio arterial disease have been found to be linked to polluted air.

Watershed cleanups

Since 1989, the Alice Ferguson Foundation has coordinated the annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup each April, engaging about 150,000 volunteers and hundreds of partner organizations and removing close to 7 million pounds of trash from the Potomac River Watershed.

In 2014, there were 14,766 volunteers and roughly 500 groups and partners who participated; 576,000 pounds of trash were removed from the Potomac Watershed; 35,600 plastic bags, 211,000 beverage containers, 18,600 cigarette butts and 1,288 tires were removed; and there were 671 cleanup sites registered in Maryland, Washington, Virginia, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The majority of Potomac Watershed cleanups held throughout the Potomac Watershed this year will be from 9 a.m. to noon April 11, though others will be held throughout the month. If interested in volunteering at a cleanup, go to www.potomaccleanup.org to find a site.

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