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MLB, clubs plan special events for Earth Day

Key initiatives also taking place during All-Star Week in D.C.
MLB.com @MannyOnMLB

With Earth Day approaching on Sunday, Major League Baseball is celebrating with several league-wide and club-specific initiatives in 2018.

On Saturday, front-office employees of MLB, MLB Network and MLB Advanced Media will be volunteering at the Variety Boys & Girls Club in Queens, New York. The group will be helping to revitalize the club, planting flowers and building raised planters in the garden, enhancing the media room and building a small, portable library.

With Earth Day approaching on Sunday, Major League Baseball is celebrating with several league-wide and club-specific initiatives in 2018.

On Saturday, front-office employees of MLB, MLB Network and MLB Advanced Media will be volunteering at the Variety Boys & Girls Club in Queens, New York. The group will be helping to revitalize the club, planting flowers and building raised planters in the garden, enhancing the media room and building a small, portable library.

Another MLB initiative in New York City this weekend will follow the first-ever "MLB FoodFest." MLB will donate excess food to City Harvest, the world's first food-rescue organization, dedicated to helping feed the nearly 1.3 million New Yorkers facing hunger. "MLB Foodfest" is a one-of-a kind indoor food festival featuring special selections from each of the 30 MLB clubs served under one roof. The event will be held over two days beginning on Saturday in New York City.

MLB will continue to support sustainability efforts during All-Star festivities in Washington, D.C., this July. During All-Star Week (July 12-17), MLB will partner with George Washington University and Georgetown University to activate "Green Teams," a group of students that encourages environmental awareness during MLB All-Star events. The efforts will include a college course with a focus on sustainability, collecting recyclables at ballpark and community events, and educating fans about positive environmental practices.

MLB will also seek to offset the environmental footprint of player travel to and from Washington for All-Star Week, as well as energy and water use during All-Star Week at Nationals Park, by purchasing renewable energy credits and water restoration credits in conjunction with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation and the Change the Course Program. Fans will also be encouraged to walk or utilize public transportation between events during All-Star Week as part of the "Kaiser Permanente All-Star Green Path."

Several club-specific initiatives are also taking place throughout the year. These include:

• 15 clubs (Braves, Orioles, Reds, Indians, Astros, Royals, Angels, Twins, Yankees, Phillies, Pirates, Padres, Giants, Mariners, and Rangers) installing LED field lighting by the end of 2018.

• Several clubs leading the way in recycling efforts, including the Mariners (96 percent of waste at Safeco Field being diverted from landfills) and Giants (93 percent of waste at AT&T Park being diverted from landfills).

• Nine clubs (D-backs, Red Sox, Indians, Rockies, Royals, Padres, Giants, Mariners and Cardinals) utilizing solar power at their ballparks. Prior to the start of the 2018 season, the Padres installed MLB's largest solar-power system, which will produce more than 12 million-kilowatt hours over the next 25 years.

• Six ballparks -- AT&T Park, Marlins Park, Nationals Park, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, SunTrust Park and Target Field -- are LEED-certified in various aspects of their operation. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certifications are given to buildings that meet strict guidelines for environmental responsibility by using less water and energy and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

• Eleven ballparks (AT&T Park, Busch Stadium, Chase Field, Citi Field, Coors Field, Fenway Park, Nationals Park, Oakland Coliseum, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Progressive Field and Safeco Field) currently operate their own gardens or farms.

In 2018, the Pirates are partnering with Rivendale Farms, a farm nestled in Pittsburgh, to develop a Suite Patio Rooftop Garden.

Eight clubs will have special Earth Day events on Sunday: the D-backs, Orioles, Red Sox, White Sox, Tigers, Dodgers, Mariners and Pirates.

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.