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Honoring Mother Earth at the Salt Marsh Nature Center • Brooklyn Paper

Honoring Mother Earth at the Salt Marsh Nature Center

Earth day shimmy: Dancer Diana Perez and The BellyMystics shimmied for Mother Earth at the Salt Marsh Nature Center on April 22.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

It was fun, rain or shine!

The annual Earth Day celebration at the Salt Marsh Nature Center on April 22 had a different vibe this year, as rain fell from the sky, rather than the usual sunbeams warming the center’s sprawling grounds. But it was still a celebration of Mother Nature — and all her flaws — and more than 60 flower children still enjoyed the dances and music, albeit indoors, said one of the longtime organizers.

“We actually had to go inside because of the rain,” said Gail Kroog, director of the Brooklyn Dance Center. “Everybody seemed to really enjoy it. It was intimate, but still a beautiful setting.”

The nature center opened on Earth Day 17 years ago on what was “formerly a wasteland filled with trash and abandoned cars,” according to friends group The Salt Marsh Alliance. And starting a few years after that, families and children have gathered at the grounds every April to honor the Earth.

Roman “Redhawk” Perez of the Caribbean-native Taino Nation sounded off a ceremonial blessing by blowing into a conch shell, and dancers from the Brooklyn Dance Center performed moves choreographed to go along with the earthy celebrations — everything always fits harmoniously together, said Kroog, who is from Marine Park.

“All in celebration of Earth Day,” she said. “We all do this every year together, we collaborate. It’s nice, it’s all together, dancing, singing, and then just nice storytelling.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Sounds of the wind: Roman “Redhawk” Perez of the Caribbean-native Taino Nation blows the conch shell.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

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