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A different kind of Green Party

Bash to celebrate Earth Week includes volunteer opportunities
By: Bridget Jones, Special to the Telegraph
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The celebration of Earth Week continues Saturday at El Dorado Hills Community Park. The second “Green” Party, hosted by El Dorado Hills Community Services District, will include various volunteer opportunities such as painting, planting flowers, picking up trash and building a new community garden for the teen center. Wayne Lowery, district general manager, said this event is important because participants are able to help district staff with time-consuming tasks, and it also instills a feeling of pride within volunteers who take care of the park they use every day. “When (the event) is done … the park will be a nice place for everybody to spend their time,” Lowery said. “The efforts by volunteers and members of the community to spend time helping in the park — it takes us a notch above what we can do just spending their tax money.” Marni Francisco-Cady, director of recreation and organizing chairwoman of the event, said she believes it’s important for the community to come together to celebrate the Earth. “First and foremost, the whole week is Earth Week around the world, and it’s vital that we play a part in celebrating it as well,” Francisco-Cady said. “The ‘Green’ Party is all about volunteering. The public is going to be a part of that effort. It’s a good gathering of community.” Christine Foster, recreation coordinator for the CSD teen center, said the “Green” Party construction of the center’s community garden will create a wide range of possible programs for the future. Some of these possibilities could include teens learning how to care for their own garden, donating food to local food banks and the nutrition program offered through CSD, encouraging teens to sell their home-grown vegetables at the summer farmer’s market and more. “At some point we’re hoping we’ll grow enough food to do cooking classes,” Foster said. “So there’re a lot of programs that will hopefully come out of having a garden.” Foster said she expects a large number of teens to participate in the construction of the garden and other aspects of the “Green” Party. “A lot of our teens have been coming in and asking me what they can do for community service, so I think we’ll have a really good turnout of young people,” she said. While the teen center is equipped with the latest technological games and gadgets, Foster said she thinks the garden will really set the center apart and offer teens chances to participate in more unique activities. “I think especially my participants will have so much satisfaction in building something, and creating it and working on it.” The “Green” Party will also include a post-cleanup gathering with refreshments, a solar energy demonstration and information on various other conservation tips. Francisco-Cady said she is excited for the solar energy demonstration given by J.D. Maher, an Elk Grove elementary school teacher and spokesman for Premier Power. “He’s going to show how much he paid for electricity, or power, before and then how much he paid after (installing) solar panels,” she said. “I don’t think a lot of people really know the benefits of solar … and I want him to tell the public, ‘This is the benefit, and you can have this too.’ This is the time we need to save money whenever we can.” Other conservation tips offered will include advice on saving water and power, information on drought tolerant plants, square-foot gardening tips and more. Francisco-Cady said she is excited about this event because of the success of last year’s “Green” Party. “Last year we had more than 100 people (volunteer), and they just loved it,” she said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun and very productive. I’m looking forward to it.” INFO BOX: ‘Green’ Party When: 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturday, April 25 Where: El Dorado Hills Community Park, 1021 Harvard Way Information: 933-6624 or www.edhcsd.org Bridget Jones can be reached at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com.