HIGHBRIDGE — Roughly 70 Highbridge Head Start students celebrated Earth Day Tuesday by planting flowers at the Bronx Stadium Gardens.
The pre-school age children, decked out in hats made from recycled materials and signs with messages like “No Littering. Pick up your garbage,” “Keep our streets safe and clean” and “Let’s plant together,” joined with the 161st Street Business Improvement District for some landscaping efforts in the flower beds at Gerard Avenue and 161st Street.
This was the third event for the two groups, but there was much more planting done this year than in 2013.
“Last year, we only put in about 20 plants,” said Cary Goodman, executive director of the 161st Street BID. This year, he said, the groups put in about 120.
Rivera characterized the event as an effective way to make children in The Bronx care about the environment and take ownership of their neighborhood from a young age.
“These kids are going to feel like this is their garden,” he said.
The event was fun to watch as well, said Saunders.
“To see the little ones holding the plants, that’s so adorable,” she said.
The Bronx Stadium Gardens are located right by Yankee Stadium, in an area that did not use to be as green. Carmen Osoria, a family assistant for Highbridge Head Start, who has lived in the neighborhood for 25 years, said she used to avoid this part of it.
“I wouldn’t even come through here because of the bad smell,” she said.
The gardens have helped make the area a cleaner, friendlier place said Goodman. He added that they have also made many visiting New York Yankees fans very happy.
“They’re delighted that they’re not stepping out into the dirty, dangerous Bronx,” he said. “Instead they’re seeing daffodils.”
The children ended their planting with a snack of graham crackers and Capri Sun. There were plenty of garbage bags on hand for them to throw away their trash.