Every year on April 22, Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. According to the National Geographic Society, “Earth Day is an annual celebration that honors the achievements of the environmental movement and raises awareness of the need to protect Earth’s natural resources for future generations. Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 in the United States and on either April 22 or the day the spring equinox occurs throughout the rest of the world.”
One way to observe this yearly event is to participate in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s Earth Day celebration the following day, Saturday, April 23 by removing invasive plants around the park. The event takes place from 1 to 3 p.m. and allows visitors to not only give back, but to help preserve the nearest national park. The effort helps to remove the invasive plants, which not only helps to restore the native plants, making it a better wildlife habitat, but it also improves the quality of the soil.
Those who wish to volunteer will use hand tools and saws to remove the plants. Children, aged 10-15 must have parent or guardian supervision at the project site. Volunteers who are 16-17 years of age are only required to have a parent or guardian sign their Volunteer Agreement form.
Advanced registration is required for all individuals by emailing volunteer@forcvnp.org. Only volunteers who pre-registered will be permitted to participate. Outdoor work gloves and eye protection will be provided, but to reduce contact, volunteers are permitted to bring personal equipment. Be sure to bring adequate water.
Some companies are becoming more aware and pro-active regarding the environment and sustainability that goes beyond Earth Day. FirstEnergy is one such company. They have recently launched a new program that has diverted more than 1 million pounds of used utility poles from local landfills, while, at the same time, giving residents and organizations a chance to repurpose the poles at no charge.
“Under the new Wood Pole Diversion Program, utility poles no longer in use by FirstEnergy’s Ohio utilities – Ohio Edison, The Illuminating Company or Toledo Edison – will be redistributed to interested parties, like farmers and scouting groups, for direct reuse. Alternative uses for poles include fencing, parking bollards, guide rail posts, furniture, landscaping or treated wood construction,” according to FirstEnergy officials. “What started as a pilot program in FirstEnergy’s Ohio Edison service area is now a reality across the company’s entire six-state footprint. We are committed to reducing waste and improving our recycling efforts, and this is an exciting opportunity for us to adopt a more environmentally friendly practice and find new uses for secondhand utility poles.”
As the poles are retired, FirstEnergy personnel remove all of the hardware from the pole and then store them at one of their participating service centers. The poles that are used for this program are at least five feet in height and weigh about 50 pounds per cubic foot. “When a service center has collected approximately 12 tons of utility poles, the company will work with Blackwood Solutions, a transportation and materials management firm, to pick them up and distribute them for reuse. The poles will be delivered at no cost to interested parties who are willing to accept a full load, can be accessed by tractor trailer and are located within a certain distance from the collection sites,” according to FirstEnergy officials.
Those interested in participating in the Wood Pole Diversion Program can visit the website www.bwoodsolutions.com for more information.

Contributing Writer