UpCycle CRC Receives the 2014 Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award at Alexandria's Earth Day Celebration
Alexandria Celebrates Earth Day 2014
By Katie Smythe
Alexandria celebrated Earth Day 2014 with a festival at Ben Brenman Park on April 26, highlighting this year’s theme: Are YOU an Eco-Citizen? The event included the Trashion Fashion Show, educational exhibits, eco-demonstrations, hands-on activities, environmental awards and the annual tree sale.
The 21st annual Alexandria Earth Day and Arbor Day celebration featured the popular Upcycling Showcase. Students from Alexandria City Public Schools showcased their creations in fashions created from upcycled materials as well as music, dance, literature and visual arts.
The first place winner in the ACPS Upcycling Showcase was William Ramsey Elementary School, followed by Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy in second place and George Washington Middle School in third. The winners receive funds to put toward an environmental project at their school.
Upcycle Creative Reuse Center co-founders Kelley Organek and Susan Miranda accept the 2014 Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award (Photo: Katie Smythe)
As part of Alexandria’s Eco-City initiative, the annual Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award is presented at the Earth Day celebration. The award is granted by the City of Alexandria Environmental Policy Commission and Alexandria Renew Enterprises (formerly the Alexandria Sanitation Authority). The award honors and recognizes those who demonstrate a commitment to protecting the natural environment and keeping the City “green.”
The UpCycle Creative Reuse Center received this year’s Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award, which was presented to co-founders Kelley Organek and Susan Miranda. A tree was planted to recognize the occasion and honor the recipient.
The Upcycle Creative Reuse Center, located in the Del Ray neighborhood, collects and redistributes reusable material for art and learning purposes. The Center’s large collection of material is used in creative and artistic programs for all ages and is also available to the public at reduced prices. The center provides playgroups, arts and crafts workshops, summer camps, school enrichment activities, studio space, and professional development programs for teachers and parents.
“The UpCycle Creative Reuse Center blends creativity and fun with sustainability,” said Alexandria Renew Enterprises CEO Karen Pallansch. “Instead of sending material and everyday objects to the dumpster, the center brings together kids of all ages to recycle and reuse the material to build, create and learn. The late Ms. Pickering would have loved the sense of community and environmental stewardship the Center brings to Alexandria, and for that reason we are thrilled to present the UpCycle Creative Reuse Center with the Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award for 2014.”
The City of Alexandria received the Tree City USA award for the 31st consecutive year. City officials accepted a banner with this designation from the Virginia Department of Forestry.
The festival concluded with live music by the Alexandria-based teen rock band Fuse Box, which was nominated for a Wammie for Best New Artist and was named “Fan Favorite”.
Alexandria Earth Day is based on the need to promote education and lead us all to a green and sustainable future, in keeping with the goals of the Eco-City Alexandria Initiative. In addition, the Alexandria Earth Day Committee has committed to making this event a zero-waste and carbon neutral. The City recognized the two main sponsors of Alexandria Earth Day – Covanta Energy and Virginia Paving – for their contribution to environmental stewardship and energy conservation.