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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Celebrating ‘Earth Month'

NIH PHS Officers Volunteer at Local Parks

Group shot of those helping to clean up a park.

Helping to clean up a park in celebration of Earth Month are (from l) Chris Light, Lt. Heather Light, Lt. Santhana Webb, David Webb (NIH staff), Lt. Theresa Yu, Samantha Yu.

Photo: Ranger Steve Dean

April marked Earth month to raise awareness of the health of our environment. Earth Day recognition began in 1968 when Morton Hilbert and the Public Health Service organized the Human Ecology Symposium, an environmental conference for students to hear from scientists about the effects of environmental degradation on human health. For the next 2 years, Hilbert and students worked to plan the first Earth Day. In April 1970—along with a federal proclamation from Sen. Gaylord Nelson—the first Earth Day was held.

Now the planet is celebrated throughout the entire month of April. Cleanup events were organized and volunteers were recruited to help clean public land, recreation parks and watershed. Volunteers removed tires, plastic bottles, cans and other debris from local waterways.

Lt. Santhana Webb and Lt. Theresa Yu of NIH’s PHS communications/visibility subcommittee led groups of officers, civilians and their families to help clean local parks in Virginia and Maryland. The group was part of more than 600 volunteers who gave 1,500 hours of service to collect an estimated 5.1 tons of trash across 8 parks in Fairfax County, Va.

Events increased PHS visibility and encouraged active living and good health.

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