Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

The Los Angeles Unified and Manhattan Beach Unified school districts were honored by the U.S. Department of Education on Earth Day Friday for their efforts to reduce negative environmental impacts.

The two districts were among five California entities so honored. The three others are the San Francisco Unified School District, Bay Farm School in Alameda, and Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland.

In all, 47 schools — 41 public, six private — 15 districts and 11 postsecondary institutions were named as honorees across the county “for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education,” a Department of Education statement said.

“I congratulate these schools, districts and postsecondary institutions for their commitment to sustainable facilities, health and classroom practices,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr.

Events — many involving children — are taking place throughout the Southland today to mark Earth Day, a 46-year-old international celebration meant to create awareness of the need for conservation and environmental protections.

The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970, created by then-Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin in an attempt to put environmental protection on the national agenda. An estimated 20 million people participated in protests and rallies on the first Earth Day.

At 8:15 this morning, Assemblywoman Patty Lopez, D-San Fernando, joined Active Recycling to offer free trash dumping in honor of Earth Day. Residents can bring up to 500 pounds of trash or green waste to Active Recycling at  2000 W. Slauson Ave. in Los Angeles. Only liquids and hazardous materials will be rejected.

In Pasadena, High Point Academy was being honored by Rep. Judy Chu, D- Monterey Park, state Sen. Carol Liu and Councilman Gene Masuda this morning for its Organics Recovery and Composting Program.

Also this morning, a 275-ton crane will lower six modules into place on La Clede Avenue in Atwater Village to create three prefabricated sustainable homes.

At noon, unionized janitors who are part of the “Green Janitors” program will be joined by environmentalists, community leaders and allies to celebrate Earth Day with a news conference, calling for a switch to sustainable cleaning practices.

Also at noon, Sea In The City — a nonprofit collaboration between the Los Angeles Police Department, The Surfrider Foundation and artist Hilton Alves — will unveil an ocean-themed mural at Ann Street Elementary on Bloom Street in Los Angeles during a school assembly. Los Angeles Councilman Gil Cedillo is among those expected to attend.

In Reseda, Garden Grove Elementary School on Valerio Street will celebrate Earth Day with a recycling-themed fashion show, featuring original clothing the students created using re-purposed material. Los Angeles Unified School District board member Monica Ratliff and L.A. Councilman Bob Blumenfield are among those expected to attend.

At 7:30 tonight, Santa Monica Pier’s Ferris wheel will go “green” with a variety of patterns and designs for Earth Day. The light show will go until midnight.

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