CLARKS GREEN — Visitors stayed dry from the rain inside tents outside the Abington Heights administration building on East Grove Street. They had the chance to see many earth-friendly organizations and vendors in an event called “Be Green in Clarks Green” on May 19.
The event was made possible by the hard work of the Clarks Green Borough Council, including Mayor Patty Lawler, who came up with the idea and saw first-hand that, despite the rain, many vendors and visitors still came to the event.
“The constant, cold rain didn’t dampen the enthusiasm,” Lawler said.
Lawler painted designs on rocks, which community members had found in their yards and gave to her. These rocks were vended to raise money for the Clarks Green Community Chest, which will allow the borough will sponsor upcoming community events. One of the events will be an open house inside the borough building in November. Raffle baskets also raised funds for this cause.
The rocks were sold by volunteers Eric Pappas and Serena Zatara, both members of the Laurel Garden Club. The club, of which Lawler is also a member, encourages interest in growing, arranging, displaying, and utilizing plants and flowers. It also promotes environmental projects in and around Scranton. Members John Raike and Carla Preate gave away flowers at the event.
“We’re always supportive of Mayor Patty Lawler,” said Preate. “She’s a member of the garden club, too. Even with the rain, people came out to support the event.”
A table with flowers atop were members of Petals for Goodness, a non-profit organization which collects donated flowers from weddings, Rotary dinners, and other events. This group re-purposes the flowers into bouquets and donates them to nursing homes and hospice units.
“Studies have shown that flowers lower depression,” said co-director Beth Perry, who was at the event with her co-director Kathee Senofonte. “Flowers also foster short-term memory by camaraderie between nurses and patients. It gives them something to talk about.”
During its two years of existence, Petals for Goodness has re-purposed 9,000 bouquets, or about 15 a day.
John Raike and Carla Preate gave away marigolds purchased by Lawler as a gift for the community. They also sold hanging baskets. Petals for Goodness sold rose bouquets and rosebud vases.
Lawler’s sister Mary Murphy Fox had a booth to teach children how to make paper flowers using tissue paper, pieces of egg cartons, and pipe cleaners for the stems.
“It’s a great, creative idea,” Lawler said of her sister’s event. “We get the message out about the importance of recycling all kinds of items.”
Clarks Green resident Dale Smalley vended welcome signs he made by using reclaimed wood taken from pallets. His wife Kathleen paints decorations on them.
Clarks Green Shade Tree Commission, which has been naming Clarks Green a Tree City USA for many years, gave free bags of almonds to visitors. Shade Tree Commission member Peter Giermanski shared a table at which people donated eyeglasses to be given to the Lions Club, as well as old and worn American flags which will be properly disposed of by VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) Post 7069.
Although the event focuses on plants and recycled items, some vendors were all about animals. Lackawanna Audobon Society was there with magazines about birds.
“It was a good effort on the part of Patty Lawler,” said Carol Lizell, a member since 1993. She, treasurer Beverly Johnson, and new member Kathy Detweiler gave visitors little birds made of foam and bird checklists which they use for bird watching. Detweiler talked about the members participating in High Count Day, during which they looked for birds on the list within a 15-mile radius of Lackawanna Courthouse Square.
“We saw 94 birds in the area,” said Detweiler. “It’s a great way to learn about birds and their nesting areas.”
A cat named Lovey and a Chihuahua/Pomeranian dog named Scrappy were both up for adoption from Griffin Pond Animal Shelter. Scrappy was wrapped comfortably in a blanket handled by volunteer Laura Weeks. Her sister Amber Weeks, the shelter’s assistant of communications and development, was also there to vend raffle tickets for two baskets — one with dog items and one with cat items. For its 80th anniversary, Griffin Pond will have a Pay As You Wish program in June. It will also have many upcoming events such as Pittie Palooza (June 10) and Paws in the Park (September).
Other organizations present at the event included The Catherine McAuley Center from Scranton and Humming Hill Lavender Farm & Apiary of Brooklyn, PA. Magician Ben Knox entertained the vendors with his close-up magic involving cards and a Rubik’s cube. H
“Be Green in Clarks Green” started when Lawler wanted to do a community event in May. The council president suggested the idea of going green in Clarks Green. And that’s how the idea came to fruition.
“We accomplished what Clarks Green Borough Council intended. Give the non-profits an opportunity to collect items they desperately need to continue their fine missions,” said Lawler. “Each did receive contributions and donations… even Scrappy from Griffin Pond Animal Shelter has met someone who is seriously interested in adopting him!”
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