Nurturing Nature: Marietta’s Earth Day celebration marks 25 years | News, Sports, Jobs

Collin Waybright of Laurel Fork Falconry shows off Lance, a peregrine falcon, at the Earth Day celebration held Saturday at the Armory in Marietta. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

MARIETTA — The Marietta area has been commemorating Earth Day for 25 years, and a number of people came out Saturday to the Armory along Front Street to continue the tradition.

The event highlighted sustainability and ways to protect the planet’s environmental resources with fun hands-on activities. There were demonstrations involving predatory birds and fish found in local waterways, beekeeping and more.

Many of the activities focused on what people could do on an individual level to improve the environment by making small changes as well as raising awareness of what is happening with the environment, said Connie Grimes, who has served on the Marietta Earth Day Committee for its full 25 years.

“It is a fun and informative way of doing that while providing an opportunity for families to be together outdoors,” she said. “It has been a great day with a great turnout.”

Earth Day was created April 22, 1970, after the environmental problems caused by an oil spill in Santa Barbara, Calif. The day is celebrated every April 22 to mark the beginning of the modern environmental cause.

JD Alexander of Waterford participated in an activity commemorating Earth Day Saturday at the Armory in Marietta where he got to dig in a wading pool of dirt and get a small cup of dirt with some flower seeds sprinkled in that he could take home and plant. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

Organizers were hoping they would have 500-600 people or more attend the event Saturday.

Ashley Hendershot of Waterford brought her daughter, Ella, 6 to the event at the suggestion of a friend.

“(She) is very interested in nature, and I thought this would be a fun thing for her,” Henderson said. “It is exciting as there are a lot of great volunteers out here.

“There are a lot of engaging activities for the kids. (She) has learned a lot already.”

Lauren Alexander of Waterford brought her son, JD to the event after seeing it mentioned on Facebook. She liked all the different stations and activities available.

Casey Goodpaster, supervisor of the Senecaville State Fish Hatchery, shows kids a catfish Saturday during an event at the Armory in Marietta commemorating Earth Day. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

“(JD) has been interested in recycling, keeping the world clean and making it a better place,” Alexander said. “We plant stuff in the house. It has been awesome. “It has been a beautiful day.”

One of the activities was a planting station where the kids were able to dig into a wading pool of dirt to find different plastic insects and put some dirt and seeds into a cup they could take with them and begin to grow flowers they can replant at home .

Sara Schilling, adviser for the Oak Grove Explorers 4-H club in Marietta, was running the planting activity. She said they wanted to show kids what can be done on an individual basis with people planting their own flower gardens, which can lead to planting food and doing more to be self-sufficient.

“It is a wonderful day for it,” Schilling said. “We have to support our community.”

Casey Goodpaster, supervisor of the Senecaville State Fish Hatchery, was displaying an assortment of fish, including largemouth bass, white bass, channel catfish and bluegills while discussing the work the hatchery does.

Eli Ball, 3, of Vincent looks at some bees in a case Saturday during Earth Day activities at the Armory in Marietta. It was the 25th year of an annual Earth Day event held in Marietta. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

“It has been a good crowd with a lot of people interested in seeing the fish and touching the fish,” Goodpaster said. “I am always thrilled when they ask me back every year. “They say I’m really popular.”

The hatchery’s work helps keep local waterways stocked for public fishing. The fishing licenses people buy help support their efforts.

“I try to teach the young ones what we do, the importance of fish and populating some of these lakes for public fishing and some of the opportunities that we present for people,” Goodpaster said.

Over the last 25 years, more people have become aware of environmental concerns and the need to better protect natural resources, while recycling has become more prevalent, Grimes said.

“People are more aware of the environment and they are more aware of saving the Earth,” she said.

Brett Dunlap can be reached at [email protected]

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