Cleaner and Greener: Emerald Necklace

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EL MONTE, CA– On Saturday, October 29, hundreds of high school and college students showed up at Mulhall Elementary to participate in the Emerald Necklace. From 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, volunteers helped out to paint doors and plant trees at the school.

BPHS sophomore Emily Mojica arrived to help out with Baldwin Park High School’s National Honor Society (NHS). “My experience at Emerald Necklace was really fun,” she said. “I enjoyed helping out and the hardest part of my task was when we had to dig out the holes and encountered lots of rocks.”

The Emerald Necklace is a project founded by the Amigos de los Rios, a nonprofit charitable organization, to strengthen community life and preserve the environment in the Los Angeles area. Amigos de los Rios has many park projects and Emerald Necklace is one of its most popular events.

Mulhall Elementary is no longer an actual school. There weren’t enough students attending Mulhall, so it is now just conserved as a park and playground. Almost every week, the Emerald Necklace takes place at this particular place and several other schools. Various clubs and organizations such as Key Club, NHS, etc. aided the workers.

Painting the doors and walls were already done the previous week, so students had the task of planting shrubs and small trees. The Amigos de los Rios adults who were in charge demonstrated how to remove the dirt, dig up the soil, carefully take out the plants out of their pots, and place them in the hole. After the most difficult part was completed, everyone took a small break, eating granola bars and drinking cold water. At 2:30 PM, student volunteers watered, sprinkled mulch around the ring of the plants, and cleaned the remaining mess.

Wendy Wong, BPHS senior, also volunteered with NHS. “My favorite part was being able to bond with some of the new members,” she explained. “Digging was the hardest part but luckily we learned from our many mistakes.”

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