Angelina Maniero, a 7th-grade student at the Saint Francis Xavier School, spoke about her generation going green at this year’s “City in Bloom” event on May 22. Photo by Stephen Ladner.
By Marion McParland
PHS’s annual City in Bloom event celebrated its 22nd year yesterday with hundreds of volunteers cleaning, greening and planting thousands of annuals, perennials and shrubs throughout Center City. With the help of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and a group of corporate and student volunteers, more than 3,500 flowering annuals, perennials and shrubs were planted. Gardens were also cleared of debris and invasive plants. To view more photos from the event click here.
Volunteers from NRG Residential Solutions, Grant Thornton, PricewaterhouseCoopers, J.P. Morgan Chase and St. Francis Xavier School worked in the garden beds at City Hall, around the Swann Memorial Fountain on Logan Square, in JFK Plaza (LOVE Park), along the Parkway, and at Eastern State Penitentiary, 21st Street and Fairmount Avenue.
Speakers at this year’s “City in Bloom” included, from left to right: Mark Focht, First Deputy Commissioner, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation; Heather Farber, Senior Director of Marketing Communications, NRG Retail Northeast; Nancy Goldenberg, PHS Chief of Staff; Angelina Maniero, a 7th-grade student at Saint Francis Xavier School; and Jimmy Owens, PHS Vice President for Business Development. Photo by Stephen Ladner.
The event began at Sister Cities Park, 18th Street and the Parkway, where sponsors, partners and volunteers came together. Jimmy Owens, PHS Vice President for Business Development, and Nancy Goldenberg, PHS Chief of Staff, welcomed the crowd and spoke about PHS City in Bloom. They were joined by Mark Focht, First Deputy Commissioner, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation; Heather Farber, Senior Director of Marketing Communications, NRG Retail Northeast; and Angelina Maniero, a 7th-grade student at the Saint Francis Xavier School in Fairmount.
Angelina Maniero offered this inspiring message:
My name is Angelina Maniero; I am a seventh grade student at Saint Francis Xavier School. I am delighted to be given the honor of presenting a speech and representing my school on the matter of my generation going green for this “City in Bloom” event sponsored by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.
I am proud to be part of this generation. I feel young people such as myself and my peers are a huge part of this world’s future. We have great ideas to offer the future; we have brilliant minds, creative spirits and passionate souls that are looking for new and innovative ways to better our world. With these abilities, I hope we can find new ways to preserve our environment and use our natural resources wisely.
To begin, our ecosystem works in a delicate way, meaning each member of this ecosystem is vital to keeping it working properly. Humans, especially today’s generation, have done many things to negatively affect this ecosystem. Air pollution is one of the major concerns that we are facing.
Thankfully, by planting different types of trees, shrubs and plants in addition to the use of window boxes and curbside containers throughout the city, we can help to undo the damage of air pollution. Plants take in carbon dioxide from the air that is polluted and expel clean oxygen that we need to breathe. This is just one of the many reasons going green is so important in today’s world.
Next, have you ever really thought about how much today’s world is centered on electronics? It is how we gain information, communicate, entertain ourselves, shop and even read. by doing this we miss all of the natural beauty of the earth.
Fortunately, groups like the Horticultural Society will make sure there is always greenery in the city. My generation’s responsibility is to take advantage of these green spaces by participating in outdoor sports, finding a quiet landscaped area to read or relax or even getting together with a group of friends and going walking instead of texting. These are just a few ways to “power off” and begin to admire earth’s natural beauty.
Finally, going green means not only minimizing time spent using things that pollute our environment or planting a tree, but also buying and using organic items. Most non-organic food is grown using pesticides. These pesticides prevent bugs from destroying plants and make it possible for farmers to grow and sell more of a crop; however, pesticides are extremely harmful to the environment.
Therefore, one way to minimize the harmful effects of pesticides is by growing your own food source. Joining a community project or growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs in your own backyard are great ways to get fresh, organic produce. When space becomes an issue, planting rooftop or windowsill gardens are an excellent alternative. These are fantastic ways to use your empty space to produce pesticide free food.
In conclusion, the importance of going green, whether to eliminate air pollution, make use of green spaces or going organic, is especially vital for my generation because if we do not create a better earth, how can we create a better tomorrow?
For more information on PHS City in Bloom, click here.
Students from Saint Francis Xavier School planted flowers at LOVE Park as part of “City in Bloom.” Photo by Stephen Ladner.