Earth Day Columbus embarks on week-long community initiative

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Communities in and around Columbus are dedicating this week to making neighborhoods greener.

When it started 11 years ago, Earth Day was a one-day event. Today, because of the need, organizers say it's now an entire week.

It started Saturday, April 8, and goes through Saturday, April 15. There are 122 service sites throughout Central Ohio, which are hosted in dozens of communities.

Volunteers are doing a list of chores, which includes removing invasive species, preparing community gardens, cleaning litter and planting 12,000 trees.

"The difference is that Earth Day to these volunteers is every day and when we're working in our own communities it becomes our own," Earth Day Director for Green Columbus in Central Ohio, Kristen Pendrey, said. "So, the city has embraced it and, therefore, it's now called Earth Day Columbus."

When it started more than a decade ago, volunteers wanted to put a year's worth of volunteer hours in one day. By doing that, organizers like Pendrey realized there was so much more work to do.

Ria Greiff with Portal Park says volunteering, planting trees and creating community gardens will have a domino effect of good choices.

"I know that if we can offer someone something good to eat, then that creates another good choice," she said. "It creates a virtuous cycle and then we create a community around that. It's a place where I feel like my children can learn from and contribute, and that's really what life is all about. It's about enriching our lives, giving back and leaving it better than we found it. That's why I do it."

There's still plenty of room available for volunteers. Click here to sign up.