The Ravens spent Wednesday morning in Baltimore cleaning city streets and storm drains alongside staff from the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore and volunteers from the Library Square community.
"Last week, when the city experienced a lot of rain, this area flooded and left behind a large amount of debris," explained Carmera Thomas of Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore. "Our efforts out here today come at a perfect time for the Library Square neighborhood."
The clean-up was part of the Ravens' GamePlanEarth environmental initiative to help make Baltimore a more sustainable city. Throughout the year, the team joins together with local non-profits whose focus is on environmental challenges and who offer volunteer support to help execute these efforts.
In the past, the Ravens have worked with environmental organizations including planting trees with Parks and People Foundation, creating urban rain gardens with the Baltimore Community ToolBank and cleaning oyster gardens with the Great Baltimore Oyster Partnership.
The Waterfront Partnership's Healthy Harbor initiative works to restore and protect one of our city's most valuable assets – The Baltimore Inner Harbor. This group directed the Ravens to Library Square, where volunteers helped clean the neighborhood before debris that littered the park, sidewalks and streets could find its way into the Inner Harbor.
More than 35 volunteers, armed with gloves, garbage pickers and brown paper garbage bags, walked the area picking up items left behind. After cleaning, the team stenciled storm drains with the Healthy Harbor's "A Healthy Harbor Starts Here" message and personalized the space with a purple Ravens and #GamePlanEarth logo.
Among the volunteers were some younger helpers from the community, whose lives are impacted daily by the appearance of the neighborhood. A grandmother, joined by her three grandchildren, spoke of how important the cleanup was for them to be a part of, and how it helps them take ownership of their neighborhood. She also explained that it creates a connection joining the Ravens and painting the #GamePlanEarth message on the sidewalk, because they will see it every day, and it will remind them to continue to do their part.
The Ravens will continue to do their part by highlighting GamePlanEarth leading into the game this Saturday against Detroit. Tonight (Aug. 26), the Ravens will co-host a Purple Friday Baltimore Bike Party to support and encourage bike riding as an eco-friendly form of transportation in the city.
On gameday, volunteers will hand out recycling bags to fans in tailgate lots and collect old cell phones that will be donated to and reused by HopeLine from Verizon. The team will also distribute a limited quantity of GamePlanEarth giveaways to fans on RavensWalk.
The team encourages schools to apply for the Ravens GamePlanEarth Ambassador Award, a program that recognizes and highlights a Baltimore-area school which has implemented environmental initiatives and is a leader in the community with their efforts. The winning school will be presented with a $2,500 grant that will assist in the continuation of their work.
The GamePlanEarth environmental efforts are also carried out at the team's Under Armour Performance Center and M&T Bank Stadium, which was proudly awarded the LEED Gold Certification in 2013, a designation given to organizations that strive to deliver a healthy, environmental-friendly, cost-saving and energy- and water-efficient operating building in the community.
For more information, please visit www.BaltimoreRavens.com/GamePlanEarth.