By TONIA HILL
This year, Earth Day is on Saturday, April 22. Organizations in Hyde Park will be hosting activities that focus on education, sustainability, and restoration for the community to commemorate the event.
Ray Elementary School, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave., will host a gardening celebration for Earth Day from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, April 21. Students, teachers, community members, and staff members of Gardeneers, of gardeneer.com, will participate in gardening activities in several areas around the school.
Students will clean garden areas, prepare soil, and plant vegetables, strawberries, and herbs in raised garden plots near the school’s playground and also work in Amanda’s Garden near the corner of 56th Street and Kenwood Avenue.
The Jackson Park Advisory Council (JPAC) will host volunteer cleanup activities on Saturday, April 22.
The first cleanup event will take place from 10 a.m. to noon at Wooded Island.
JPAC and volunteers will also have a beach sweep at 57th Street (57th Street and Lake Shore Drive) from noon to 2 p.m. The JPAC will also assist the Midway Plaisance Advisory Council (MPAC) with cleanup from Stony Island Avenue to the railroad.
Elm Park, 5215 S. Woodlawn Ave., will have a general cleanup from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
The University of Chicago (U. of C.) will also host a series of events designed to inform and engage the community in ongoing research, student-driven plans, and sustainable projects.
The event will be sponsored by 16 campus partners including the Office of the Provost, the Office of Sustainability, and the Program on Global Environment.
The Zero-Waste Athletics Event, a new event this year, will last throughout the day. The aim of the event is to use sustainable materials and practices to reduce waste sent to landfills.
There will also be an Earth Fest demonstrating sustainability programs and a discussion featuring U. of C. alum and former White House chef and senior policy adviser for nutrition for President Barack Obama Sam Kass. Kass is also the founder of TROUVE and partner in Acre Venture Partners.
The Office of Sustainability coordinated the event, and it will showcase sustainable student organizations, programs, and initiatives from U. of C., the local community and the city of Chicago.
Participants can learn about the initiatives and enjoy healthy, sustainable focused food. The event will take place in the William Eckhardt Research Center, 5640 S. Ellis Ave., from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
At 4:30 p.m., on Saturday there will be a film screening of the City Dark, in conjunction with the City of Chicago, WBEZ Chicago 91.9, Redfin, The Nature Conservancy, and the One Earth Film Festival at the Jackson Park Fieldhouse, 6401 S. Stony Island Ave.
The City Dark takes a look at city museum and park districts focusing on human connection and relationship to the stars.
The screening will include remarks from Michael Strautmanis, vice president of Civic Engagement, at The Barack Obama Foundation; A question and answer segment with Naomi Davis, president of Blacks in Green and JPAC President Louise McCurry. Audrey Fischer of the Chicago Astronomical Society/International Dark-Sky Association will also be present.
The screening is free and open to the public. To reserve a spot visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-city-dark-earth-dayjackson-park-tickets-33314616916.