EVENT ALERT: Bed Stuy's Magnolia Tree Earth Center's Garden Party Awards 10 Top New Yorkers

By Gloria Dulan-Wilson

On Saturday, June 26, The Magnolia Tree Earth Center’s Garden Party Fundraiser and the 2010 Hattie Carthan Founders Day will present awards to Ten Top New Yorkers at the VICTORIAN MANSION in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.

New York City prides itself on being ahead of the curve in the “green” movement. But more than 40 years ago, the late visionary Hattie Carthan, Bedford Stuyvesant’s First Lady of the Environment, saved one magnificent tree from Model City bulldozers; inspired several block associations to join in the planting of 1500 trees; and subsequently jumpstarted the neighborhood’s first “green” initiative.

Her Magnolia Tree Earth Center, which consists of three connecting brownstones on Lafayette Avenue directly across from Von King Park, is still standing, protecting the magnificent Magnolia grandi flora, from north winds.

The Board of Directors have formed a protective embrace around Mrs. Carthan’s legacy, and is working hard to bring it into the 21st century … as Mrs. Carthan would have wanted. And you can join in the effort.

There’s still time to help the Board reach its goal for the summer. Their annual Summer Solstice fundraiser – replete with lemonade, music, networking, remembrances, silent auction (including framed photograph of a window in environmentalist Harriet Tubman’s home donated by artist Olivia Cousins; a book of John James Audubon’s watercolors work donated by Bernice Elizabeth Green; Matthew Fraser’s popular Miracle Step health product, an office desk water fountain crafted by Joanna Williams), and more -- takes place this SATURDAY, JUNE 26, 4:00-8:00pm in the elegant Carthan-like setting of the historic Victorian Mansion, 247 Hancock Street, near Marcy Avenue in Brooklyn. Tickets are $40.

In addition, ten of New York’s most distinguished community leaders who exemplify Mrs. Carthan’s ideals of excellence, leadership, and proactive vision, will be awarded The Hattie Carthan Founder’s Day Award, the highest honor of the Board of Directors of the Magnolia Tree Earth Center of Bedford-Stuyvesant. Awards ceremony commences at 5:45pm.

The honorees include: Kristina Beecher, principal of The Bedford Village School/P.S. 3; Carlton Brown and Walter Edwards, COO and CEO, respectively, of Full Spectrum New York green construction firm; Pamela E. Green, Executive Director of the Weeksville Heritage Center; Sydney Katz, founder of Super Foodtown; Liam Kavanaugh, First Deputy Commissioner of New York City Department of Parks and Recreation; David McMaster, Vice President, Bartlett Tree Expert Company; Akiima Price, Chief of Education, New York Restoration Project; Dr. Vicente Sanchez, USDA Forest Service; and Antonia Yuille Williams, Director of Public Affairs, Con Edison.

This award is bestowed annually to individuals, organizations or enterprises that best exemplify the standards and vision of the late great environmentalist Hattie Carthan whose visionary work more than 40 years ago — in developing a neighborhood ecology and environment center for children — continues to inspire young people today. Her accomplishments – ahead of their time – also have contributed directly to Bedford-Stuyvesant’s active participation in New York City’s movement towards sustainability.

Says Board Chair David Mark Greaves, “These leaders, through their work and commitment to building a sustainable future for the City’s under-resourced neighborhoods where Mrs. Carthan lived and worked, are deserving of this honor. We’re proud they are part of our family and we’re proud of them.

“Also, this year, the Board is proud to announce two milestones: the 40th anniversary of the designation of the Lafayette Avenue environmental center’s 19th century magnolia grandiflora as a New York City historic landmark (New York’s only living landmark), and the debut in the fall of a perfume developed by Rodney Fitzgerald Hughes from the essence of the tree’s flower petals. The perfume, now in its 12th month of an 18-month process, will be ‘tested’ by Hattie’s Angels, Alma Carroll, Elsie Richardson and Vernell Albury, three stalwart pioneers in Bedford Stuyvesant history. And as a salute to Mrs. Carthan’s emphasis on children first, there will be music and oratorical performances by young people associated with the Center through Project Green and other programs.”

This annual summer solstice event kicks off Magnolia Tree Earth Center’s seasonal fundraisers; one is scheduled for early fall, when the much-anticipated, high-end Magnolia Grandiflora perfume will debut and in the early winter, when a possible Harvest/Winter Ball will take place.

This season’s event is being catered by Simply Elegant and will feature the R&B sounds of the popular U4RIA group. For more information, call Andrea Brathwaite: 718-387-2116. Tickets are $40. For press interviews, call Bernice Green, 718-599-6828.

This is a wonderful day to hang out in one of the most elegant ever brownstones, in one of the most elegant sections of Brooklyn and enjoy this balmy, beautiful weather.

Look to see you there!

Until then
Gloria Dulan-Wilson

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