Saturday, April 29, 2023

Waterkeeper hosts 3rd annual Spring Sweep

Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper hosted the third annual Spring Sweep event on Earth Day, April 22, inviting members of the community to sites across Buffalo to clean up litter and trash before it enters the waterways and Great Lakes. The community assistance goes beyond just picking up the trash however. Jennifer Fee, director of communications and marketing, says the Clean Swell app allows volunteers to collect important data on the litter they find. “It can be detailed notes about the brand or item, but most importantly, we’re using that data to calculate how much trash we picked up,” she said, “and all of that data comes together to make a really strong case for what waterways we need to advocate for.” By Andrew DiMartino

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Cherry Blossom Festival marks 10th year

 Spring brings the arrival of Buffalo’s blooming Cherry Blossom Festival.

This year will mark the 10th year annual festival, which is set to take place April 27 to April 30 in the Japanese Garden near the Buffalo History Museum.

Paula Hinz, co-chair of the Japanese Garden, says in Japan viewing the blossoms represents the importance of savoring life.

“Cherry blossoms blooming reminds us that we have to stop and enjoy the present moment, because the blossoms won't be here for long,” Hinz says.

Hinz also says that every year a few limbs of the trees break and how she would like to better educate visitors on preserving the cherry trees.

“One person can do a lot of damage in the garden without having any malice. How can we educate people on how to interact with nature? We need to take these moments and teach them,” Hinz said.

The festival partners with Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Buffalo History Museum, Music is Art, and Friends of the Japanese Garden.

“All of us bring something different to the festival. It's a really fun way for us to add new parts to the festival. I think it’s going to be  be a blast,” Hinz said.

This four-day festival will be filled with a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. This year's activities include silent auctions, food, live music, boat rides and tea tasting. By Tanya Gamble

Pessecow talks - and cleans - trash on area streets

 Katherine Pessecow, director of the Western New York Trash Mob, says the organization was a direct response to the clean on her own street after clashes occurred with police and protestors following the death of George Floyd in 2020. “It was just a very organic call on our block after a hectic night that neighbors get together early in the morning and we just cleaned up some of the broken glass and damaged property and all the chaos that ensued from that night,” Pessecow said. Pessecow has been the director of the local non-profit for three years and says that the organization’s cleanup days, most recently on April 22,  are about more than just picking up trash. “It’s really more of a community event where we get people to host or to partner and it’s all free and community members can visit tables by our partners,” Pessecow said. By Carly Lawson

Apply now for Allentown scholarship

           The Allentown Art Festival is offering its annual scholarships for high school artists.

           The deadline for this year’s scholarships is April 23.

            Rita Harrington-Lippman, festival president, said the awards are offered for high school students across the eight counties in Western New York. There are eight scholarships available with each valuing $2,000.

            These awards are available to students who graduate from a Western New York high school and major in visual arts at an accredited college.

             The organization also has a returning student’s program for students who have previously applied for prior scholarships.

             Lippman said that the organization is also hosting an upcoming poster design competition with a $2,000 prize that students can participate in as well.

            “Students can apply in the student category, and they may even be considered for the entire for the poster for the show,” Lippman said.

            The 66th festival is running from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., June 10 and 11. By Carly Lawson