Annual Earth Day Festival hero: Ralph White


Carly and Mitchell celebrate Richmond's Earth Day FestivalSunday’s 2010 Richmond Earth Day Festival was the fifth held in Manchester on the south banks of the James River at Floodwall Park and Plant Zero. It was a blast as always, and a great way to connect with like-minded people in a fun, positive atmosphere. 

I’m an earth day kind of guy. I attempt to be a steward of the land. I’m an avid recycler, got my backyard vegetable garden and compost pile, powerless blade lawn mower and my two new rain barrels.  I bike instead of drive whenever I can. Frequent farmer’s markets. Buy, eat, shop local — and when I do, I bring my own bags. Of the three Rs I’m probably more into reduce and reuse than recycle. I try to teach my kids to respect that way of living.

I also love the outdoors, with the James River being my main focus.  When I can, I try to do my part to keep it clean and teaching my kids the right way to go about living to be responsible and help make our world a little cleaner and greener.

I’m not going into all the details from the festival — you’re reading this, so you were probably there and saw it all. If you missed it, you can guess most of what you missed and check some of the photos below.

Ralph White at Richmond's Earth Day FestivalI do want to point out how much I enjoy Ralph White’s small annual portion of the festivities. He is the park manager for the James River Park System and put on a three-hour show for kids — planting shoreline vegetation, releasing fish, talking about the river.

As usual, Ralph was engaging for young and old, full of enthusiasm and information and showed tremendous patience and tolerance. With Ralph, it’s never the big things — all the little things. Everything is part of a bigger picture. Ecosystems depend on all things working in unison, etc. It’s fascinating to watch him work a crowd.

Ralph White at Richmond's Earth Day FestivalRalph White is a hero to the Earth Day crowd, only he lives it on an every day basis, year-round. He and his park system coworkers are stewards of our treasured riverfront, and I admire their work and dedication.

If you’ve ever found yourself wandering around a section of the JRPS and seen him, he’s picking up trash, snagging some recyclable material, teaching, organizing, networking.  You can’t conquer everything. Work hard, do all you can, come back and do it again the next day. It’s his passion, and we’re lucky to be able to enjoy the results.

I saw several other JRPS staffers on hand — including maintenance manager Peter Bruce and trails manager Nathan Burrell — and hopefully the festival was a chance for them to relax, socialize, celebrate — not work.  From this point on through the summer, they are likely working 12-16 hour days, 6-7 days a week and — knowing them — loving every second of it.

Ralph White at Richmond's Earth Day FestivalNext time you go to the river, take a small trash bag. Commit yourself to picking up whatever is convenient for you to carry out. Volunteer to clean or in some way care for this precious resource. Ralph and his folks never run out of projects that need attention. Make the park your park, and leave your mark. Spread the word and get your friends out to help and call it a party. Every time I’ve volunteered for a clean up or trail building day it has been an overwhelmingly satisfying and positive time — my own little festival.

Find what fits you and make every day your own Earth Day.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. […] Last year’s festival was excellent and the weather was perfect. This year’s festival will be bigger and better than ever. 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Streets at Hull Street in the New Manchester District will be blocked off and filled with vendors, artists, farmers, and fun activities for all ages. Check the highlights, but see the website for more: […]

    Reply

  2. […] Last year’s festival was excellent and the weather was perfect. This year’s festival will be bigger and better than ever. 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Streets at Hull Street in the New Manchester District will be blocked off and filled with vendors, artists, farmers, and fun activities for all ages. Check the highlights, but see the website for more: […]

    Reply

  3. Posted by Rider on April 27, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Ralph certainly doesn’t lack for enthusiasm! I wish he were more up to date on his information though… LOL

    Reply

  4. Posted by Christy on April 26, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    For anyone who would like to get involved (and have a great day), the 11th Annual James River Regional Cleanup on June 12 offers an excellent opportunity! This is a huge regional cleanup along 70 miles of the James River – pick your spot! In the James River Park, volunteers will meet for assignments at Reedy Creek and Pony Pasture Rapids. Sign up to help online at JRAC-VA.org. Individuals, groups and even boaters are wanted!

    Reply

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