By Nancy Gerth
Rain held off last Saturday until two minutes before 4 p.m., just time enough for the third annual Earth Day in Farmin Park. Less than an hour afterwards, the park was clean and empty, but the spirit lives on.
Hundreds of people of all ages attended. Ninety-nine children earned a set of bamboo cutlery, to replace the plastic forks and straws which now end up on beaches and up turtles’ noses. Each youngster visited five of 25 booths with information and children’s activities: face-painting, recycling, pollinators, trees, skins and skulls identification, seed-planting, corn hole tosses, cloth bag painting, slime station, green lunch, CO2 experiment, butterfly wands, a glass-blower, giant bubbles and a fire truck. Volunteer monitors made the day go smoothly.
Meanwhile, Mayor Rognstad welcomed us and awarded “keys to future cities” to local students, including sixth graders of Washington School, who have been chosen as U.S. representatives to a global meeting of youth this fall. They proceeded to treat us to three performances about plastic recycling.
Master of Entertainment Sam Cornett incited children to dance and sing, including his talented daughters, Savannah and Addison. “Blue Tutu” danced nearly three hours, giving it everything she had. Miss Paige’s dancers were spell-binding to the strains of earth-themed music. Gaia’s Daughters belly-danced us into a trance. Giant-winged butterflies signaled the end of the afternoon with a gorgeous display of color and calm.
Schools, a church, businesses, nonprofits, families and friends gathered to celebrate and learn from each other. A big tide turned: A younger generation is grabbing the baton from the gray hairs like me and running into the future.
“It was very fun participating in an event that contributes to helping the Earth,” said student Taylor Mire.
Student Aubrey Knowles echoed Mire’s words.
“The Earth Day Celebration was really fun to help (with),” she said. “It was really good for our program. … The activities were very fun, and it was really easy to learn everything about our Earth.”
High school students raised $1,000 last Friday for their trip to save coral. Watch for a second showing of “Chasing Coral” coming to The Panida. Contact for donations: [email protected]
The library’s Earth Week activities were well attended, too: discussions on climate change, extreme weather, the threat to journalism, challenges to the winter sports industry; virtual reality movies; Earth Day-themed storytimes and crafts, and a team of young people picking up trash along Division Street in their #TrashTagChallenge project.
Next April is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Three more people volunteered to help do it again next year. Perhaps 50 years from now we will have Earth Year! If you have ideas, talent or time to help make it equally fun (could we make it any better?) please contact me at [email protected] It takes a community to hold a festival!
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