Green Team

A neighborhood association in Fishtown hosted an Earth Day celebration on Saturday.

Board members and volunteers work in the Crease Street Garden on April 24. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Fishtown residents like to keep it tidy. 

On Saturday, the Fishtown Neighbors Association hosted an Earth Day celebration at the Fishtown Recreation Center on Montgomery Avenue near Girard. The event provided street cleanup supplies, mindfulness sessions, a kindness rocks art project and a “seed-bomb” hunt.

Residents were invited to sign up for time slots for the cleanup and mindfulness sessions to follow COVID-19 safety protocol through a survey link on the association’s Facebook page.

“It’s obvious how important it is to celebrate the Earth because this is the only Earth we have,” said Kat Clayton, 30, a communications manager at Friends Central School who runs the association’s events committee. “We have a lot of kids showing up for this knowing that they should take ownership of the Earth and it’s their Earth to inherit, so it’s important to always keep that in mind.”

Cleanup participants could choose the blocks they wanted to clean within Fishtown. Many decided to clean the street they live on.

“People really like to take ownership of their block, they’re cleaning their own space,” Clayton said. “Knowing that they can come and pick up materials and clean up in front of their own house, I think people really enjoy that.”

Megan Manley, 22, a teacher in Camden, New Jersey, and Regan Cook, 22, a nanny and incoming sport business student, moved to Fishtown in August. They attended the cleanup because they wanted to contribute to the neighborhood.

“We don’t want to be yuppie gentrifiers, so we’re trying to not just take away from the community but also have some sustainable impact on it,” Manley said. “We’re not just taking one day to celebrate Earth Day, rather prefer to be habitually practicing keeping communities clean and safe.”

Denis Devine, founder of Friends of Adaire, a community collective supporting Alexander Adaire School, organized a project so volunteers could apply decals near storm drains that encourage people not to dump their trash in the water that filters into the Delaware River.

Monika Maslany, 47, a Fishtown resident who works in interior design sales, brought her nephew, Lincoln Rinaldi, 6, to participate in it.

“I really want our city to be as clean as other cities,” Maslany said. “That’s really important to me, to try to be one person out here hopefully bringing out more people to do more of this kind of work.”

Sarah DiMuzio, 30, a teacher and nanny, and Stephanie Adriaenssens, 27, a community development executive at Social Solutions, attended the event together to clean up their street a block away from the recreation center.

“I don’t know if we know how affected we are by just like, being around garbage all the time,” Adriaenssens said. “I feel better when there’s less garbage, and I think other people probably do, too.”

In conjunction with the association, the Crease Street Garden, a community garden on Crease Street near Girard Avenue, hosted a garden cleanup. Volunteers cleaned out garden beds and planted new flowers.

Jenni Desnouee, 55, a middle school fine arts teacher at Philadelphia Performing Arts String Theory Charter School and treasurer of the Crease Street Garden, said this is the first time neighbors have been together in the garden in a year.

“Formally, we’re here to clean up the garden, but informally, all that community building happens, too,” Desnouee added.

The event celebrated the Earth and cleaned up the neighborhood, all while strengthening bonds in it. 

This excited Dimuzio, who just bought a home in Fishtown.

“We’re really excited that it seems like we found a place that the community members really care about keeping it clean,” Dimuzio said.

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