Honor thy mother: The Triad celebrates Earth Day
Almost 200 countries around the world celebrate Earth Day, which is a day to reflect on our impact on the environment. The Triad will be celebrating Earth Day on the first and second week of April with two separate events that will focus on the community and the future of our Mother Earth.
A free and family-friendly Earth Day celebration will be held in Greensboro on April 6 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Kathleen Clay Edwards Family Library, located at 1420 Price Park Dr. Before the Earth Day festivities, there will be the Great American Cleanup hosted by Greensboro Beautiful from 9 to 11 a.m.
“The library sponsors [Earth Day] because we foster lifelong learning and we also promote equal and open access to resources,” said environmental resources librarian Melanie Buckingham. “The event is a great celebration of the environmental resources in Greensboro.”
Buckingham said there would be over 50 exhibitors from colleges, nonprofits, businesses and city departments. She said that the Earth Day celebration is a great way for families to learn of the environmental resources available in Greensboro such as the North Carolina Native Plants Society, Guilford County Master Gardeners, the Audubon Society, and the Piedmont Bird Club. Buckingham said there would also be hands-on STEM and science activities for children, a tiny house exhibit, alternative vehicles from the Triangle Electric Vehicle Association, hayrides, face-painting, a nature photo contest, and live animals. Buckingham said she believes that learning to love the earth and environment will make people want to take care of it and protect it.
“It is really about creating those connections to the natural world,” she said. “For our mental well-being, for our physical well-being, we need to re-establish our connection with the natural world.”
The exhibitors include the Haw River State Park, which will be holding an exhibit on snakes; the Greensboro Children’s Museum, which will be handing out “super seedy trail mix;” the Greensboro Transit Authority, which will be showcasing one of its new electric buses; Greensboro Recycling, which will have its recycling van on display; Get Outdoors: Women on the Water, which will be demonstrating how to use a kayak; the Audobon Society, which will be holding birding activities; and the North Carolina A&T Center for Energy Resources, which will be having a solar energy display at the Earth Day celebration.
Buckingham said that Girl Scouts could earn credit toward some of their badges by attending the Earth Day celebration and that this event is engaging for every age.
“Essentially, [the Earth Day celebration] will give people takeaways about how they can change their actions to have a lighter impact on the earth and make connections with natural resource agencies in our area and have a lot of fun,” she said.
Buckingham stressed that Earth Day is not just one day out of the year and that it should be celebrated every day. She said that the library has outdoor activities and resources that connect back to nature year-round, such as backpacks that can be checked out and used to explore the environment, as well as community nature photography and poetry strolls.
“We are losing our connection with the natural world, and hopefully by coming to Earth Day, people can re-establish that,” she said. “Everybody can make a difference in their activities, and I think, sometimes it seems overwhelming, but when you go to an event like Earth Day, you have some a-ha moments. Then it seems like there are some more manageable actions. If everybody did that, it would make a huge difference.”
Buckingham said the event would happen rain or shine, and in the event of rain, the celebration will be held indoors. For more information, visit the website, www.library.greensboro-nc.gov.
In Winston-Salem, The Piedmont Environmental Alliance will hold its annual Earth Day Fair at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds on April 13 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. This family-friendly, and free fair will include over 100 exhibitors, children’s activities, environmentally-themed demonstrations, music, and a Goodwill Swap Shop.
PEA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to “educate and empower, build community, and inspire action to create a healthier, more economically vibrant, and environmentally sustainable community,” wrote PEA’s communications and engagement coordinator Madeline Coffey.
Coffey wrote in an email that the organization provides free educational programming to students at Winston-Salem and Forsyth County Schools that teach math and science skills using hands-on activities and dynamic conversations that “cultivate citizen environmentalists with the tools to support a healthy and sustainable community.”
“Our signature event is the Piedmont Earth Day Fair, which is the largest Earth Day Fair and one-day environmental education event in the region,” Coffey wrote. “The event is free and features fun activities for both kids and adults.”
Coffey said the children’s activities include arts and crafts, dance, face-painting, yoga, and special activities hosted by Kaleideum and Sawtooth School for Visual Arts.
“One new feature for kids this year is that Bookmarks will host an environmental storytime on the hour, where children can gather in the gazebo to hear stories that will inspire them to be good stewards of our environment,” Coffey wrote.
She wrote that children who participate in several activities would have an opportunity to win a prize by redeeming their “eco stamp card” at the PEA booth. Those who participated in the Earth Day Art contest will see their art showcased and a winner will be announced at the fair.
She wrote for the adult attendees, the environmentally-themed demonstrations provide “practical tips for living a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle,” and include backyard beekeeping, every day cleaning with essential oils, and propagation 101.
Coffey said that this year, the fair would have a new site that encourages exploration along four main topic areas: water, waste, air and food.
“We believe this will help community members to make connections between the things they are learning as they wander throughout the fair,” she wrote. “As always, the fair will be a zero-waste event, which means that no trash cans will be provided for guests and all vendors are required to only use compostable or recyclable materials. We hope this will inspire our guests to reduce waste in their homes and to encourage low waste living in their communities and neighborhoods.”
Coffey said the City of Winston-Salem is a generous sponsor and helps PEA provide the event free to the community. She also wrote that the city would have a booth at the fair that will inform the community of the city’s sustainable initiatives and efforts.
Coffey wrote that PEA is “committed to making Winston-Salem the City of Arts, Innovation, and Sustainability.” She wrote that the Earth Day Fair works toward accomplishing that goal because it educates and empowers the community to live more sustainably as well as encourages them to demand more sustainable practices from organizations, government agencies, and businesses throughout the Piedmont Triad.
“Recent news has painted a grim portrait of what our future could look like if we continue down this road, but we hope that these horrifying reminders will light a fire in our community to take action to build a more sustainable future,” Coffey wrote. “We hope to see more people than ever at the fair this year who are ready to make changes in their homes, their communities, and in our nation to ensure a bright future for all of us.”
For more information, visit the website www.peanc.org.