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This Wednesday marks the 45th anniversary of the first official Earth Day, which many people consider the birth of the modern environmental movement. Since it’s mid-week, there will be a few related activities on the actual day and additional ones over the weekend. Here’s a short list with information on the big Arbor Festival last.

  • Green Garden/Green Planet: Celebrate with urban gardening, sustainable art-making, hands-on workshops, and a spring garden tour with natural plant-and-backyard care tips. At 1 pm and 3 pm, participate in a workshop on starting flowers, herbs, and vegetables from seed and make a recycled bird feeder. Learn about recycling, composting, and local earth-friendly resources. Voelker Orth Museum, 149-19 38th Avenue, Flushing, April 22, 1 pm to 4 pm, $4/$3 for students and children/free for infants and toddlers.
  • Earth Day Craft and Mini Garden Tour: Celebrate by taking a stroll and making a botanically themed craft. Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main Street, Flushing, April 22, 3:30 pm, free.
  • Spring Fling for Earth Day: Celebrate by touring this historic house and its gardens, and enjoy crafts, games, music and entertainment. Onderdonk House, 1820 Flushing Avenue, Ridgewood, April 25, noon to 4 pm, $5.
  • Composting in the City: Celebrate with the NYC Compost Project, which teaches how to reduce waste and create “black gold” for gardens by composting leaves, kitchen scraps, garden trimmings, and weeds. Queens Botanical Garden, April 25, 1 pm to 3:30 pm, registration required via compost@queensbotanical.org, $5.
  • Let’s Talk About Pollution: Celebrate by learning how to help clean up Flushing Bay and Flushing Creek. There will be time to share stories and brainstorm solutions. Flushing YMCA, 138-46 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, April 25, 3 pm.
  • Arbor Festival: Activities for all ages, including a petting zoo, live music, food and craft vendors, compost demonstration and a beer tent. Queens Botanical Gardens, free with admission, but there are extra fees for some activities.

Photo: Onderdonk House

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Eggs can be symbols of life, fertility, rebirth, and even the resurrection of Jesus. Rabbits laying these ovoids and hiding them in gardens doesn’t really comply with nature, but the Easter Bunny is believed to come from a legend that German immigrants brought to the United States. Regardless of the facts and origins, Queens is hopping with great, secular Easter activities, which are listed on the jump page along with another image.

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Though last night’s snow might confuse the issue, it’s time for Queens gardeners to start preparing their summer vegetables. This is the key to earlier harvests, greater variety, healthier crops, stronger soil, easier transplanting, and especially more satisfaction and enjoyment.

This Sunday, Queens Botanical Garden Director of Education Emeritus Fred Gerber will host a workshop dedicated to growing indoor vegetables during the warm weather months. There should be something of interest for everybody from the novice to the experienced gardener with the greenest of thumbs. Details on the jump page.

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It was so nice they did it twice. Flushing Meadows Corona Park hosted the 1939-1940 World’s Fair and the one that ran in 1964 and 1965. Both events — which took place over two, consecutive, six-month periods — had major impact on Queens and the rest of the world. Plus, both are currently celebrating major anniversaries (50th and 75th). This Sunday, a group of Urban Park Rangers will lead a tour through the park that will highlight the remnants and their roles in these historic fairs. More details after jump.

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It’s time to tree-cycle and e-cycle. To promote eco-friendly practices — and help New Yorkers avoid a new state law imposing $100 fines on residents who leave electronics on the curb for pickup — the Queens Botanical Garden will  host the 12th annual E-Waste Recycling Event on Sunday. Done in partnership with the Lower East Side Ecology Center and sponsored by TekServe, this six-hour event allows participants to drop off unwanted or non-functional computers, printers, cell phones, video games, tablets, and other gadgets in the parking entrance. (Click here for a full list of acceptable items.) Garden employees will make sure that they are disposed of in the proper ecological way. On the same day and in the same spirit, the garden will host arts-and-crafts activities using recycled and repurposed items.

Meanwhile in response to recent holidays, the NYC Parks Department will host MulchFest 2015 all weekend at various spots throughout the five boroughs, including 13 Queens green spaces. Residents can bring trees to these spots to be recycled into mulch that will nourish plantings across the city. In some places, NYC Parks employees will chip the wood and give bags of mulch back to the tree donors. Details for all three events are on the jump page.

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For some, it’s the official start of winter. For others, it’s the shortest day of the year in terms of daylight hours. Yet for still others, it’s the inspiration for spirit-filled rituals, dances, literature, mythology, and chanting. But for the Queens Botanical Garden, it’s the occasion for a concert by the talented, dynamic, all-male a cappella ensemble The Rough Dozen. The annual Winter Solstice Celebration on Sunday will also include a holiday marketplace, botanical craft workshops, a tree-lighting ceremony, seasonal refreshments, tours, and some face time with Santa Claus. Plus, the QBG Store will offer $5 discounts on any purchase of $25 or more for the entire day.

Details: Winter Solstice Celebration & Tree Lighting, Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main Street, Flushing, December 7th, 1 pm to 5 pm, free (admission is free from November 1st through March 31st).

Top photo: Queens Botanical Garden; bottom photo: The Rough Dozen

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On this day, back in 1894, our forebears made what was arguably one of the greatest mistakes in history.

November the 6th is the day that Long Island City and the rest of what is now known as Queens voted to give up their sovereign rights as independent municipal entities to join with Manhattan and the Bronx, Staten Island, and the City of Brooklyn to form the City of Greater New York. An enormous section of Queens just stayed out of the whole thing, and became Nassau County. The whole consolidation effort was run out of Tammany Hall over in Manhattan. It was Dick Croker and JJ Byrne’s personal project, and it all became official in 1898 when our modern five boroughs were established.

From “Queens Borough, New York City, 1910-1920: The Borough of Homes and Industry“, courtesy Google Books:

At the election held November 6, 1894, the question of consolidating with the City of New York was voted upon by the residents of Queens County. The majority of votes in favor came from the Long Island City section whose inhabitants, because of their proximity to New York, had been in favor of the project for many years. The western part of the county therefore became part of the City of New York, and is known as Queens Borough; while the eastern part of the county was erected into a separate county, known as Nassau, taking its name from the early name for Long Island.