|Thousands Turn Out for MLK, Jr. Day of Service in Richmond
January 16, 2012
In perhaps the best organized ever Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service in Richmond, a crowd of hundreds turned out to clean, plant, weed and mulch a dozen different projects stretching along the Richmond Greenway from 5th Street to 16th Street and at 22nd and Carlson.
I followed a group of Forest Service volunteers to 16th Street where I helped several dozen young people who were already at work getting ready to plant 60 fruit trees in an “edible forest.” The only exception was a Black Oak (Quercus kelloggii) planted by Park Ranger Betty Soskin a symbol of sustainability. It is expected to live 250 years and could grow over 100 feet high.
Below, Betty Soskin preparing hole for the Black Oak.
The fruit trees went in quickly, so I walked back down to 6th Street where at least ten projects were going on. Shyaam M. Shabaka, EcoVillage Farm Founder and Executive Director, had just arrived with a chicken and rabbit to entertain kids who were painting compostable pots for give-away vegetable seedlings.
The Greenway Bioswale project was getting a good weeding and addition of more riparian trees, shrubs and grasses.
I joined a group of Kaiser volunteers loading and distributing wood chip mulch in the area next to Lincoln School filled with raised vegetable planter beds.
I wanted to see what the Lions Club group was doing at 6th and Enterprise, just north of Peres School. I was blown away by the scope of the project sponsored by an entire Lions Club region. It involved cleaning and rehabilitating an entire block. There was heavy equipment, a health screening van, dump trucks and hundreds of volunteers. They were doing carpentry work, cleaning yards, painting, building a community garden, clearing brush, pouring concrete and cleaning a creek.
Other projects were going on at Point Pinole and surrounding cities, but I didn’t have tome to visit them all. The volunteers who planed these events did a marvelous job, and those who pitched in to help made it the most successful MLK Day ever in Richmond.