Toledo gears up for Earth Day celebrationsWritten by Claudia Boyd-Barrett | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Second-grade teacher and environmental enthusiast Lorri Doner is not one to let Earth Day go by without some kind of celebration.
But this April 22 marks the first Earth Day that Elmhurst Elementary students will spend in a brand new school building on Elmhurst Road, and Doner wants it to be special.
With the help of art teacher Dawn Murphy, Doner is organizing an Earth Day extravaganza that will include planting a Blue Spruce tree in the new school’s enclosed courtyard, setting up an outdoor installation of student-made recycled art, cleaning up the school grounds and nearby park and collecting used clothing for the Salvation Army.
On a recent afternoon, Doner and Murphy watched as a classroom of fifth graders transformed pop cans and old bowling balls into brightly painted flowers and glass-studded ornaments for the Earth Day art display. The activities were a lesson in the value of recycling — an issue dear to Doner’s heart.
“I hope they’re learning that you don’t always have to go to the store to buy stuff,” said Doner, who set up one of Toledo Public School’s first recycling programs at Elmhurst four years ago. “You can recycle and make really nice things … This is what some people would call junk and look at what they’re doing with it.”
Across the country on Earth Day, school children, university students, businesses and people from all walks of life will be doing their part to demonstrate a commitment to protecting the planet and preserving its natural resources.
Kimberly Mickenberg of the Washington-based Earth Day Network, says people can take many actions, from changing a light bulb to planting trees to organizing a neighborhood Earth Day festival. The important thing is to do something.
“This is our planet and it’s our home,” Mickenberg said. “If we don’t protect it, it won’t be around in the future. It’s important for people to realize there’s a lot at stake here.”
In Toledo, a variety of events have been planned to mark Earth Day.
On April 22, UT will host its 10th annual EarthFest at the Centennial Mall on Main Campus from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event will include talks by representatives from local environmental organizations, free organic food, music and a drop-off location to recycle batteries and electronic equipment.
UT will also hold a groundbreaking ceremony for its new Outdoor Garden Classroom.
At the Lake Erie Center on 6200 Bayshore Road in Oregon, a special tour and tree planting will take place at 3 p.m.
In the evening, alternative energy enthusiasts can head over to Bowling Green for a free workshop on wind and solar energy installation for homes and businesses. The workshop will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Green by Design studio on 19551 N. Dixie Highway. To register, call (877) 636.3366.
April 25 offers yet more Earth-revering opportunities. At Toledo’s various parks, some 500 volunteers are expected to participate in a massive clean up initiative. Volunteers must register on the Metroparks Web site: www.metroparkstoledo.com.
For those willing to make the trek out to Paulding County on the way to Fort Wayne, Ind., the Black Swamp Conservancy will host an Earth Day celebration at Forrest Woods Nature Preserve on April 25. The celebration will include seed planting and a nature walk. Participants should bring a shovel and spade and meet in the parking lot of Bethel United Methodist Church at the corner of Paulding County roads 73 and 192 at 10 a.m. For more information, contact Rob Krain at (419) 872-5263.