- Department of Conservation & Recreation
Media Contact for State Environmental Officials Volunteer at Park Clean-up Event to Honor Earth Week
Olivia Dorrance, Press Secretary
BOSTON — Today, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Kathleen Theoharides and Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner Jim Montgomery joined volunteers at a park clean-up event at Ryan Playground in Mattapan as part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s celebration of Earth Week. The clean-up effort, organized by the Neponset River Watershed Association to support DCR’s Park Serve Stewardship Initiative, focused on readying and beautifying the local park for children and families to enjoy.
“Our administration is grateful for the volunteers who are safely getting outside to improve their local parks throughout the Commonwealth during Earth Week through the Park Serve Stewardship Initiative,” said EEA Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “We were proud to join other volunteers today to ensure our state parks will be ready to welcome visitors in the coming months.”
The DCR Park Serve Stewardship Initiative is a campaign educating residents about park stewardship, encouraging local park clean-ups, and advocating for participants to share the experience online. To participate, the agency encourages residents to follow DCR on Twitter and Instagram to learn about stewardship, conduct a clean-up of their local park, and share their experience by tagging @MassDCR.
“Conducting park clean-ups in Environmental Justice communities is just one of the many ways the Baker-Polito Administration is able to increase access to outdoor space, create community bonds, and enhance neighborhoods,” said DCR Commissioner Jim Montgomery. “I want to thank all of the volunteers for their dedication and hard work to help ready local parks for the 2021 summer season.”
Annually in celebration of Earth Week and to prepare the Commonwealth’s state park system for the upcoming outdoor recreation season, DCR invites volunteers to take part in Park Serve Day, a day of stewardship activities such as cleaning coastlines, clearing trails, picking up litter, planting flowers, and other important tasks. This year, DCR launched the Park Serve Stewardship Initiative in place of the traditional Park Serve Day to educate residents about park stewardship, encourage a local park clean up, and urge visitors to share effort on social media.
"Our natural resources are precious, which is why today’s Earth Day inspired cleanup is so important. So, thank you to the DCR for putting this event together. Together we must continue to advocate for the preservation and enhancement of Massachusetts’ parks and green spaces. Maintaining these resources is a vital part of creating healthy and safe communities," said State Senator Nick Collins (D-South Boston).
"It was so great to spend last Saturday volunteering with the Neponset River Watershed Association and the Neponset Greenway Council clean-up efforts! There were THREE truck beds full of garbage and construction materials from illegal dumping. Thank you to our Edgewater neighbors for organizing this effort, and to neighbors from Dorchester, Milton, Mattapan, and Hyde Park who served with us on Saturday," said State Representative Brandy Fluker-Oakley (D-Mattapan).
Created in 2006 as a statewide initiative to encourage a day of volunteerism, Park Serve Day enables the public to partner with state government in an effort to prepare the Commonwealth’s many state parks and beaches for the upcoming spring and summer seasons. Since Park Serve Day began, thousands of individuals have volunteered in an effort to make a difference.
During this year’s Earth Week in Massachusetts, the Baker-Polito Administration is highlighting its commitment to supporting the Commonwealth’s Environmental Justice communities, and ensuring that all residents are protected from environmental pollution can enjoy a clean and healthy environment. During Earth Week, the Administration is holding events throughout the Commonwealth spotlighting important initiatives, including the expansion of tree planting through the Greening the Gateway Cities Program, increasing access to healthy, nutritious food by supporting urban farms, and ensuring clean water by providing grant funding to local municipalities.
On March 26, 2021, Governor Baker signed comprehensive climate change legislation that includes nation-leading provisions related to Environmental Justice. Recognizing the significant impact of climate change on Environmental Justice communities overburdened by poor air quality and disproportionately high levels of pollution, the legislation statutorily defines Environmental Justice and environmental burdens, including climate change as an environmental burden. The legislation also expands Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) review to require an Environmental Impact Report for all projects that impact air quality within one mile of an Environmental Justice Neighborhood, and requires the Department of Environmental Protection to conduct a stakeholder process to develop a cumulative impact analysis as a condition of permitting certain projects. This change would, for the first time, require the agency to evaluate not just individual project impacts but also historic environmental pollution throughout the community through the permit process.