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Time for spring cleaning with community events

It’s clear that one day isn’t enough to focus on helping the planet and our community so Earth Day, which is Thursday, has become more of an Earth Week. Here are a few ways to get involved and celebrate locally.

On Saturday, Bring Back the Kern, with support from the Kern River Parkway Foundation, will host a community volunteer cleanup at the San Miguel Commemorative Grove, just off Manor Street.

The effort will start at San Miguel Grove at 9 a.m. with volunteers making their way toward the area under the Chester Avenue bridge, giving much-needed attention to a badly degraded section of the Kern River Parkway.

Bring Back the Kern, a subcommittee of Kern River Parkway Foundation, aims to raise awareness about Bakersfield’s mostly dry river and advocates for reviving a more regular flow of water through town.

It is partnering with the city to restore the riparian grove bordering the river, from Manor Street to Allen Road along the parkway, to reclaim it as a refuge for wildlife habitat and recreation.

Prior to the cleanup, the city's rapid response teams are removing larger pieces of trash from the riverbed, according to a news release. On Saturday, they will provide dumpsters and trash removal service for the volunteer event.

The cleanup effort will run from 9 a.m. to noon. Volunteers are asked to wear a face mask and "working clothes" — long-sleeved tops, pants, closed-toe shoes and gardening or work gloves. (Gloves will also be provided for those who don't have any.)

Volunteers are also encouraged to RSVP at bringbackthekern.org/upcoming-events to give organizers a headcount.

Those up for a short drive north can take part in Saturday's Earth Week Lake Cleanup being held in Wofford Heights.

The Kern River Conservancy is teaming up with MtnRoo, an off-road Subaru enthusiast community, for a cleanup around Lake Isabella. 

Volunteers will meet at the staging area at Boulder Gulch Campground at 10 a.m. Volunteer groups will be organized and dispatched to designated cleanup sites to work until 1 p.m. 

After the cleanup, volunteers will return to the base camp for a free lunch from Eddy Out Tap House.

Volunteers of all ages are welcome and equipment and PPEs will be provided. 

Those planning to participate are asked to RSVP at kernriverconservancy.org/volunteer to help organizers determine the size of the catering order.

Seeds of Inspiration Community Garden has teamed with Keep Bakersfield Beautiful for an Earth Day Celebration on Saturday.

The Oleander garden space is hosting a day of activities including a plant pop-up and planting party, musical performances, vendors, food and informational sessions throughout the day.

Reyna Reyes and Lindsay Linegar will discuss community mindfulness at 9 a.m. At 10 a.m., Paul Vander Werf, Kern River Valley Garden Group president and chairman of vermiculture and vermicomposting for California Garden Clubs Inc., will teach attendees how to make worms work for you in your garden. Andrea Nehisi, founder of Lotus Vibes Ensemble, will lead a drum circle and sound healing session at 11 a.m.

Seedlings and succulents will be available for donations, with all proceeds going toward Amber's Garden Path, a memorial to founder Amber Beeson, who died late last year.

The day will also feature acoustic performances by Vina and Crimson Skye, food from Outkast Catering and local vendors Rare Moon Vintage, Land n Sea Alchemy, Wick-ed Naturals By Lilly and Lydianna's Healing Potions.

Saturday's event will serve as a membership drive for the neighborhood garden, which has been enhancing the community since 2013. While memberships were on hold last year due to the pandemic, those interested in getting their hands dirty in the garden can learn how to become a member.

Members have access to classes, events, garden education and enjoy access to fresh food in an urban setting. They can attend seasonal harvest gatherings and picnics as well as workshops on gardening, yoga, meditation and dance.

The celebration will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the garden, 405 Eye St.

For more information, visit seedsofinspirationgarden.com.

And since recycling is another way to help the planet, here is one final event for Saturday. Kaiser Permanente is hosting a Drug Take Back & Recycling Event at its medical office at 3501 Stockdale Highway.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., people can bring their expired, unused or unwanted medications, including over-the-counter drugs as well as gently used clothing or furniture, old eyeglasses and hearing aids, shredding and e-waste. 

Equipment such as sit-down walkers, walkers, scooters, power and manual wheelchairs, transport (wheel) chairs and bath transfer benches will also be accepted.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.