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2010 Project Green – Arbor Day in Herbert Von King Park

Arbor Day ceremonies in Herbert Von King Park and amphitheater, last Friday, April 30 – emceed by composer/drama teacher Larry Banks, Our Time Press editorial assistant Jessica Lenore Harris, and professional

Arbor Day crabapple tree planting is watered by neighborhood youth

Hip Hop dancer Lavell Franklin (see back page) – featured hundreds of stars – 650+schoolchildren from area schools – celebrating nature, “green,” the environment, ecology, spring and good health. 

The event was sponsored by Con Edison, Super Foodtown, Flowerworks, Legacy Ventures and Earth New York.  The event was co-hosted by Carl Luciano, Councilman Al Vann’s Community Liaison and included New York City Parks and Recreation commissioners Liam Kavanaugh and Tom Ching; New York State Assemblywoman Annette Robinson, keeper of Brooklyn’s historical “green” memory as a friend to and supporter of the late Hattie Carthan; representatives of the Magnolia Tree Earth Center of Bedford Stuyvesant, founded by Mrs. Carthan; students and educators from PS 256, Bedford Village School, PS 140, Brighter Choice, Young Scholars and other schools.  And the Brooklyn Job Corps Green Team led by Kai Smith came and helped with the complex logistics and crowd control.

Youngsters line up for healthy treats donated by Super Foodtown at Restoration.

On stage with Mr. Banks, Ms. Harris and Mr. Franklin, delivering “green” messages, were: food activist

Ajamu Brown, Bed-Stuy Eco-Mapping

Ajamu Brown of the Bed-Stuy Eco-Mapping Project; Medicine Wheel Workshop founder, Talks With Wolves (Stephen Wilson); Von King Park manager Lemuel Mial and more. There were stellar green performances and presentations by every school present, and a show-stopping presentation of a speech by Michelle Obama  by orator Ebony Leah Williams of PS 256.
Inside the Cultural Arts Center in the Eubie Blake Theater,  Durett led the community’s green leaders in an information-sharing workshop, which included a PowerPoint presentation by PS 3/Bedford Village Arts Education Liaison Stephen Mohney.

Von King gardener Marechal Brown and Park Manager Lemuel Mial.

In Von King Park’s northeast section along Lafayette, new gardener Marechal Brown, led the tree planting, and the children helped.  Next year, says Ms. Brown, the planting will be a tree ceremony in the park’s largest field, and Talks With Wolves will lead a huge Circle dance.  “And there will be a blessing of the ground.”
If anyone asks where’s Bedford Stuyvesant’s “green” movment, the answer is: it’s here.  The positioning is solid;  the center is not a brownfield nor a tarnished waterfront, it’s the schools (see story by Mohney on PS 3, page  4) where the community’s leaders of tomorrow – the message on the park’s welcoming sign – are being taught, trained, empowered and developed. 
Nationally known as a “ground zero” for myriad afflictions, Bedford Stuyvesant, as revealed by Arbor Day 2010 at Von King Park, is now leading the way on the environment and ecology leadership-building front.  And the builders of that sustainable future are caring, compassionate and committed instructors talking about health, nature, sustenance and changing lightbulbs. And our children picking up on it.
Of note: one young student, inspired by the morning activities, left the snack line, and jumped on a stanchion.  “I want to make a speech,” he told us, stretching his arms to the sky.  He talked about the importance of “not littering” and  recycling to his peers as they eagerly accepted apples, raisins and water donated by Super Foodtown at Restoration.  By the way, not one school child — in the hundreds served — turned down the healthy food snack.

Lorrie Ayers, Parent Coordinator, PS305/Dr. Peter Ray School. Photo: Hiroki Kobayashi

Something’s growing in Bedford Stuyvesant; something strong, sturdy and sustainable.  We’re glad to be a part of it. Photos on the cover, centerfold and this page tell the story of this Third Annual Project Green initiative.  You also can view images on and at  Bernice Elizabeth Green

Linda R. Montas, Board Member, NHS of Bedford Stuyvesant.

Sherri Hobson-Green LivingLive (green) TM Betta Broad, Deputy Director of Earth Day NY.

Cheryl Browne, Family-Friendly Environmental Education.

Hon. Annette Robinson, NYS Assemblywoman.

Altovise Fleary, President, Jefferson Avenue, Block Assoc., (bet. Tompkins & Throop)

Liam Kavanaugh, First Deputy Commissioner of NYC Parks and Recreation.