Going green: Local environmental club to host park cleanup

The Heavin Resaca Trails in San Benito.

SAN BENITO — Whether you’re in need of a few community service hours or are interested in joining an environmental club, this may just be the event you’ve been looking for.

The RGV Harambe Environmental Club will have a park cleanup at the Heavin Resaca Trail Park in San Benito tomorrow from 6 to 8 p.m.

Volunteers will be given gloves, trash bags water and ice.

RGV Harambe Environmental Club founder Gloria Jeanette Hernandez recommends volunteers wear closed-toe shoes and bring items such as reusable bottles, sunblock, mosquito repellent and an umbrella just in case it rains.

“We’re not sure how much trash is there,” Hernandez said. “But we’re going to go ahead and meet near the pavilion to cleanup any trash and to talk about the club.”

Hernandez encourages parents to bring their kids to the cleanup.

“We want to try to educate kids because they are going to be our future,” she explained. “They’re going to be the ones taking care of their surroundings and the animals.”

According to Hernandez, the goal for her club is to raise awareness of environmental issues and to provide communities with ideas on how they can help the environment.

Inspiration for the environmental club

From rescuing dogs to watching educational TV shows about animals, Hernandez says she began developing a passion for animals and nature when she was a child.

And as a former cashier at the Gladys Porter Zoo, Hernandez says she developed a bond with many of the animals, especially a western lowland gorilla named Harambe who was born at the zoo in 1999.

“After my shifts, I often wandered around enclosures to educate myself on different animals,” Hernandez recalled. “I also remember arriving each morning and heading straight to see the gorillas, including Harambe, who was always so full of energy.”

In 2016, a few years after Harambe’s transfer to the Cincinnati Zoo, the gorilla was killed by zoo officials during an incident involving a young child that fell into his enclosure.

Soon after Harambe’s death, Hernandez said she decided to create the environmental club in honor of him.

“Harambe was the main reason in my heart and in my mind that wildlife should be viewed as precious and important to all of us,” Hernandez explained.“I hope Harambe’s tragic death will remind people to be loving, understanding and enjoy the time we have around these amazing creatures.”

IF YOU GO

WHAT — Park Cleanup with the RGV Harambe Environmental Club

WHEN — Saturday, Oct. 5 from 6 to 8 p.m.

WHERE — Heavin Resaca Trail Park, 705 North Bowie Street, San Benito

REGISTER — https://tinyurl.com/y3g2m8g2

FACEBOOK — https://tinyurl.com/yykcv5am

ahernandez@valleystar.com