BG interns at the Imagination Bethesda children's street festival.

Interns Natalia Salazer and Nicki Mukherjee at the Imagination Bethesda children’s street festival.

by Nicki Mukherjee

Before even turning onto Auburn Street I had developed the mindset that I’d be lounging around, watching parents stroll around with their children in tow, just curiously looking around for something to do during Imagination Bethesda on a beautiful Saturday in June.

I did not expect to be on my feet, rushing back and forth between making origami, helping children spin a roulette wheel for an environmental game, and being so engaged that a few hours passed without notice.

Just two minutes into the event, which started at 10 am, and for the whole time thereafter, there was a small group of children  surrounding the table, intrigued by the candy that was piled next to the black plastic wheel. I stood behind the table, a bit nervous at first that I would ask one of the kid-friendly environmental questions we devised for the event incorrectly and frantically referenced our guide sheet for the first twenty minutes.

However, I soon got hang of dealing with each group of kids, how to adjust the questions to work better for each child, how to avoid the cries and whines of the children whose mothers shook their head to the candy, and how to deal with the frenetic kids who were grappling their parents to snatch candy before they even played the game.

Three hours in, I was probably having more fun than the kids while moving from making paper boats to watching their eyes light up uncontrollably after I confirmed that their answer of “moo” and “piggy” was indeed correct for the question of “Which animals live on a farm?”

Children were prancing around with glitter tattoos on their wrists, animal paintings on their cheeks, clutching onto their newest addition of paper necklaces and drawings. Watching children have such fun planting flowers in miniature pots as their firetruck red balloons slipped away into the sky left me thinking that I would like to do this again next year.

As a newcomer to Bethesda and an even newer addition to Bethesda Green, there could not have been a better event than Imagination Bethesda to kick off my internship. I would definitely come back again next year with the addition of my two little cousins.

Nicki Mukherjee is an intern with Bethesda Green and a rising senior at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.

BGnews_logoBethesda Green looks to produce rooftop gardens in downtown Bethesda

Bethesda Green is looking to partner with the owners of flat rooftops in town — mostly businesses — to plant gardens and grow produce that would then be sold to local restaurants.

“We want to start a new business model,” said Sharon D’Emidio, program manager for Bethesda Green and head of the rooftop gardens program. “We’d love to see every roof with a garden on it.”

The rooftop gardens are a good fit for many of the roofs on Bethesda’s commercial properties because of their flat surfaces, plenty of sunlight and easy access to water, D’Emidio said. Produce from these gardens could be labeled pesticide-free.

See full article in Gazette.net.

Green Events

Children answer environmental questions at the Bethesda Green tent.

Children gathered at the Bethesda Green tent to answer environmental questions.

by Alison Wentzell

On the first Saturday of June every year, Bethesda Urban Partnership sponsors a festival for the children of Bethesda and surrounding area.

The 19th annual Imagination Bethesda proved to be extremely successful, despite the scorching heat, drawing about 15,000 children and parents to watch performances, listen to foreign language storytelling, make crafts, and enjoy a variety of other activities.  Children were beaming with delight as they participated in activities involving a wide array of skills and experiences.  At the Bethesda Green tent, kids created environmentally friendly crafts and tested their knowledge for the chance to win a small prize.  We provided the kids with recycled scrap paper and markers so that they could make armbands or add links to our eco-friendly paper chain.

The purpose of these small crafts were to show them that they don’t have to throw away something after using it only once; instead, they can reuse items multiple times to reduce the amount of waste we send to landfills and recycling centers.  On the other side of the tent both parents and children were equally stumped by our environmental trivia questions.  These questions forced families to think about our environmental impacts, both as a nation and individually.

Children potted flowers at the American Plant tent.

Children potted flowers at the American Plant tent.

Bethesda Green dedicated Saturday to creating awareness about environmental issues in the fun and vibrant atmosphere that is the Imagination Bethesda festival, with other organizations promoting sustainable values as well.  At American Plant, children were given the opportunity to plant their own potted flowers.  Joy of Motion Dance Center had visitors make paper chains and lanterns from recycled paper.  Other organizations promoted language development, multicultural awareness, and creative development.  Whether or not an organization promoted green values, they all worked to equip children with the skills necessary for a better future.

Alison Wentzell is a senior at American University and an intern with Bethesda Green.  Her interests in sustainability focus on the community, environmental politics, and cultural aspects of the environmental movement.