Sunday, April 3, 2016

Volunteers needed for Earth Day cleanup event at Recreation Area

(Originally published in the 4/3/16 edition. The print edition noted that Peet's Coffee and Tea would be providing pastries and coffee. It has been corrected to Starbucks.)

   Earth Day is just under three weeks away, but a day to clean up the environment will be taking place even earlier. On Saturday, April 16, California State Parks Foundation will be partnering with Pacific Gas & Electric to bring its 18th Annual Earth Day Restoration and Cleanup at 27 state parks across California, including the Benicia State Recreation Area where 100 volunteers are needed.
   Since 1998, California State Parks Foundation has been working to beautify state parks and promote their importance with its annual event. Other participating parks within driving distance include Angel Island State Park and Candlestick Point Recreation Area in San Francisco, Mt. Diablo State Park in Contra Costa County, the Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen and the Sonoma Coast State Park in Jenner.
   “One of our goals is to do some needed restoration projects that help make up for the shortfall of funding that we’ve been experiencing at the State Park Foundation for the past number of years,” California State Park Foundation media Consultant Christina Mueller said. “The other goal is to build awareness in the greater community about state parks and what state parks can offer to the community.”
   Much of the restoration activity at the Benicia State Recreation Area will take place at the Forrest Deaner Native Plant Botanic Garden. Projects will include mulching new plants, removing non-native plants in the garden area and along pathways, repairing the split-rail fence that borders the garden, bringing pulled weeds and tree pruning to 40-cubic yard recycling bins and plating native trees, shrubs and perennials in the coastal sage scrub and chaparral areas. 
   Participants will also not have to worry about doing such labor intensive work on empty stomachs. At the Recreation Area, Starbucks will be providing pastries and coffee for breakfast, and Subway will be providing sandwiches for lunch. Other locations will have lunches provided by Chipotle Mexican Grill and snacks by organic food companies Lundberg Family Farms and Nature’s Path.
   “It’s totally free,” Mueller said. “It’s a thank you for helping the park improve itself.”
   Mueller says the event should be a fun, beneficial experience for all participants.
   “It’s a wonderful way to support your local parks, and it’s a great way to introduce your children to volunteer work,” she said. “The views from Benicia are amazing. I don’t know how many people are familiar with this particular park, and it’s a wonderful way to experience another part of Benicia that they might not have seen before.”
   Check-ins for The Earth Day Restoration and Cleanup at the Recreation Area will begin at 8:30 a.m., Saturday, April 16, with the project taking place from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The park is located at 1 State Park Road off Interstate 780 near Rose Drive. To sign up, visit


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