My family celebrates Earth Day by gathering with our neighbors to clean up a 2-mile stretch of road that runs along the Croton reservoir, a source of New York City’s water 22 miles north of the city. We team up, young and old, searching just beyond the guardrails for garbage to collect.
Each year it blows our minds what we find beyond the common trash which we sadly have come to expect. We find discarded appliances, and have even found a piano. As we haul the unimaginable from the parameter of our precious water source, we are all reminded of the earth’s limited resources. We are also reminded, as we share a meal following our afternoon of camaraderie, of our power as a community—littlest hands included—to positively impact the future of our planet.
There are a million ways we can reduce, reuse and recycle. Even as an embellisher by trade, a trimmings designer, I find ways to improve my effort beyond the blue bins. I personally love upcycling, reusing otherwise discarded materials to create something beautiful and valuable. This year in honor of Earth Day, I hosted two enchanting students, Zen and Zoe, and their teachers Holly and Alexia from Something Good In the World’s Earth School project, for an upcycling craft. We would make what I call a Magpie Wristlet, incorporating recycled paper rolls and wire hangers, decorating them with the excess trimmings and beads that I have lying around the studio.
As children usually do, they dug right in to the project, unlike adults who usually contemplate, at length, the successfulness of the finished product. It is a real joy to experience the playfulness o
f a child’s creative process.
We cut the paper rolls on a diagonal so they would wrap around the wrist, and reinforced them by taping the cut wire from the hangers to the inside. This served as the flexible base.
They were very good students, focused, capable and definite about their color schemes and the materials they wanted to use. We adults were very impressed by their air of authority.
The end result was nothing short of spectacular! Each one a unique manifestation of their personalities. All in all, we spent a joyful hour crafting together, sharing a sense of achievement and joy that creativity can bring. Enjoy Earth Day with your family, caring for our planet and celebrating our collective power to make a difference.