Celebrating Earth Day in Westfield


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Picture of Earth from space

April 22 is known worldwide as Earth Day: a day where communities come together to better the environment and celebrate the planet. 

Westfield’s Green Team, a group of residents who volunteer in an effort to preserve the environment in Westfield, and other community members look forward to celebrating Earth Day this year and plan to continue to maintain a healthy environment in Westfield. 

On April 24, the weekend after Earth Day, the Green Team plans to celebrate with multiple volunteer opportunities. With help from high school students, the Green Team plans to run their Free Market at the south side of the train station, where people can drop off anything from books to games starting at 8:00 a.m. and at 9:00 a.m. the Free Market opens up to everyone, allowing people to pick up items to reuse or upcycle. 

Green Team Member Lois Kraus feels that the Free Market will be especially fun for high schoolers. Kraus said, “Here’s an opportunity for you and your friend to go and do some thrift store shopping, if you’re looking for vintage wear, for free.” After selecting and possibly re-working pieces of clothing, Kraus encourages high schoolers to take a picture of themselves in their new clothes and upload the photo to social media using #WestfieldGreenTeamFreeMarket.

 In addition to the Free Market, 11 sustainable vendors will be located in the south side train station parking lot. There will be booths for local farm food, rain barrel and solar panel installers and composting companies. Additionally, there will be some student-run informational stands. Kraus said the topics of discussion will include how to recycle properly, bike safety and recycling and food waste.

Kraus is excited for this year’s Earth Day celebration after a year of everybody being “cooped up.” She is eager to see “people do something to help sustain our Earth” with selfless acts like “keeping things out of landfills and learning about different behaviors that they might consider adopting to be more sustainable.” 

WHS junior and Environmental Conservation Club Treasurer Ashley Hu stated, “To me, the love and support that people show for the Earth on Earth Day is the kind of attitude I hope to see all year round.” Hu encouraged participation in Green Team park cleanups on May 2 where volunteers will help maintain parks around Westfield including, but not limited to, Tamaques Park and Brightwood Park. 

As well as park cleanups, the Green Team has a variety of activities and resources to help citizens maintain a healthy environment in Westfield. The Green Team has set up programs to keep storm grates clear and, with help from high schoolers, compiled a checklist of challenges for people each day to live a more environmentally-friendly life. Kraus explained that she hopes that teachers will hand out the checklist to students and encourage them to take part in the challenges

Hu said, “I believe that we need to protect the environment not only for ourselves but also for future generations of plants, animals and humans. Without a healthy environment to live in, none of us would be here today.”