- Check out EarthFest at Arlington Mill on April 17
- Spring E-CARE cleanup collection May 4 at 1425 N. Quincy St.
- Ribbon-cuttings: Celebrate three revitalized parks May 4
- Visit environment.arlingtonva.us/earthday for more info
“Every day is Earth Day in Arlington.” Sound familiar?
In truth, there could be a moment or two when even the best of us get distracted and push pause on planetary concerns. Christmas, perhaps, with all that glitter (microplastics) and glossy, non-recyclable wrapping paper?
Still, few communities can boast Arlington’s ceaseless commitment to sustainability — which is why one day in April can barely hint at the work that happens in the months before and after.
Since last Earth Day, a stream of distinct honors has continued to flow regularly to Arlington for its environmental stewardship. Just a few recent accolades:
- Recertification as the US Green Building Council’s first LEED Platinum level community
- Virginia Association of Counties’ Go Green Award for policies reducing greenhouse gas emissions
- Virginia Recreation and Park Society’s “Best New Environmental Sustainability Project” for Four Mile Run restoration
- Bicycling magazine’s 17th best biking “city” in America, up eight spots in just two years.
The work never stops but it doesn’t hurt to celebrate on occasion. This month might work.
April Showers Bring More Than Flowers
While it takes 22 April days for Earth Day to arrive, Arlington builds a fast head start, filling spring calendars with farmers markets, park explorations, naturalist lectures and scores of gardening talks and clinics.
With recent record rains, there’s never been a better time for the County’s many sponsored projects fighting the threats from stormwater. Also welcome on the landscaping front: mountains of mulch, free for the taking.
Just in time for spring break, EarthFest at Arlington Mill on April 17 offers young people a plethora of hands-on lessons in composting, energy efficiency and conservation. Make recycled planters to take home, learn about Arlington urban forestry, create with the Arlington Art Truck and explore ways to make a difference year-round.
Arlington’s annual Homeshow & Garden Expo returns April 27 offering a wealth of encouraging free classes and workshops to help create energy smart and efficient living spaces and landscapes.
When Monday morning, April 22, comes around, Arlingtonians can stop by the Bozman Government Center lobby for a first-ever Earth Day Café. It’s coffee plus casual conversation with the County professionals who tend to the ecosystem full time. Specific program questions are more than welcome. Further appreciation for the scope and value of the work is likely.
But Wait, There’s More!
Come May, Arlington actually steps things up on the Earth front.
E-CARE, the biannual one-stop drop-off for accumulated household hazards, returns Saturday, May 4 to 1425 N. Quincy St., across from Washington-Lee High School.
Dispose of old paints, pesticides, solvents and motor oil, plus electronics, small metal items and more. Donate unused bicycles for use overseas. Some 1,300 participants unloaded at a record hourly rate at last fall’s E-CARE. More than 64,000 pounds of hazardous material and more than 41,000 pounds of waste electronics were given a swift Arlington sendoff.
May 4 also marks Arlington’s annual Neighborhood Day tradition, this year featuring ribbon-cuttings for three revitalized, upgraded County parks: Fairlington, Glencarlyn and the completely replaced skatepark at Powhatan Springs.
Also May 4, Long Branch Nature Center hosts its annual native plant sale, giving residents the chance to create their own weather-hardened habitats for local species.
It All Adds Up
Every effort contributes to the County’s sustainability goals. A few noteworthy numbers tallied since last Earth Day:
- Some 1,400 tons of watershed-threatening particulate matter removed during street sweeping
- Almost 600 trees planted by volunteers specifically to improve stream health
- Some 1,200 tons of pollution (1,500 cars’ worth) stored by Arlington trees in a year
- Some 8,700 tons of year-round yard waste collected and composted, up 900 tons from the year before
- More than 7,800 pounds of post-Halloween pumpkins fed to the County’s food scraps composter in Shirlington to the benefit of County parks and gardens
By the time Earth Day 2020 rolls in, there will be new impressive numbers reflecting the same steady dedication to a fragile planet. The work never stops as Arlington remains a role model for the grassroots movement of interconnected communities that pause together every April 22.