Students spend Earth Day volunteering at McGovern Centennial Gardens
After several events for Earth Week were canceled due to severe weather, the sun shined brightly on Earth Day for students from the Metropolitan Volunteer Program who volunteered at the McGovern Centennial Gardens at Hermann Park.
“Knowing that the events of the first few days of the week were canceled due to inclement weather really did put a bummer on celebrating Earth Week,” said Celene Morales, a communications sciences and disorders junior and volunteer group leader. “The weather has cleared up specifically today, on Earth Day, and it’s particularly wonderful because we can recognize our Earth and our environment.”
The volunteers spent a few hours of their Friday morning getting their hands dirty pulling weeds, trimming plants and laying down pine straw as mulch, all duties the park needs to keep the garden beautiful.
“We really need help with a lot of the larger projects that we don’t have enough man power to finish without volunteer help,” Hermann Park volunteer coordinator Kamina Jamison said. “It’s really helpful because we’re an organic garden, which means we don’t use chemicals, so we need a constant stream of people to help us.”
Being organic isn’t the only thing that makes the park unique.
According to the Hermann Park website, the McGovern Centennial Gardens is home to a medley of different gardens, holds interactive horticulture classes for families and has statues and structures planted all throughout the park celebrating historical figures. It even has a 30-foot tall spiraling walkway that gives provides a bird’s-eye view of the park.
“There are several different parts of the city to volunteer at, but I’m so glad they chose here,” human nutrition and foods sophomore and volunteer Silvia De Luna said. “Everything is so well done, and it’s so beautiful to see all the different types of plants and flowers they provide.”
The volunteers agreed it’s always important to remember how significant volunteering is — especially with the flooding that deeply affected Houston earlier this week.
“When a lot of parks get flooded and need cleaning, it really builds community,” Jamison said. “It brings community out to take care of these public spaces that we all can enjoy. So while we didn’t have a lot of damage, it’s always important to go help out those who did because they really need it.”
As far as Earth Day goes, it’s more than just a single day. It’s a reminder of how everyone should be living everyday — by appreciating nature, supporting and helping to maintain all the beautiful parks the city provides.
“It’s getting back to your roots and beautifying a space that serves the Houston area,” Morales said. “It’s connecting humans to Earth in an urban setting. Not just giving back to your community but keeping in mind the overall impact you can have on someone else’s life. With this beautification, it’s giving back to the environment for the future, our future, Houston’s future and the next generation’s.”