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Respecting the earth

Becky Vargo • Apr 24, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Organizers said that this year’s Earth Day events were the most successful ever.

“We had energy and people engaged with the (Earth Day Fair) booths all the way to the end,” said Wetland Watch President and event coordinator Leslie Newman.

“We had the most people in the auditorium that we’ve ever had,” she said. “There was stuff for everybody all the way up to the end.”

Newman said the weather was perfect for the 12th annual Earth Day Lakeshore Celebration, which kicked off with a parade through downtown Grand Haven and a fair at the Grand Haven Community Center.

“I heard one mom say on her cell phone ‘Boy, this is cooler than I expected. The kids are having a lot of fun,”’ Newman said.

The woman ended up telling the person on the other end of the call that she was going to be at the event longer.

Children had lots to do, from building birdhouses and watersheds to putting a handprint on a banner.

There were freebies at the informational booths and plant giveaways, including tree seedlings from Grand Haven Board of Light and Power and flowering plants to benefit bees from City Farmer.

A local beekeeper also handed out seeds and explained why bees were so important to the food we eat.

Izzie Michaels showed off a blue hand after making her mark on a banner of the earth proved by C3. 

The 6-year-old Fruitport girl was a butterfly in the parade, she said.

When asked what Earth Day meant to her, Izzie replied, “I like to recycle.”

Artist Phil Magnan said he never worked on a banner with children before, but it made sense for this event.

“We care for the earth with our own two hands,” he said, explaining why the children put their handprints on different areas of the globe. 

Magnan said they hoped to have the banner hang in the Community Center when it was complete.

Guest speaker Peter Sinclair, a filmmaker and climate expert, spoke to a crowd of about 100 people, following the Prevailing Winds concert. 

Newman said his message was about what issues the planet was facing and what people could do about it.

The Wetland Watch president said the whole event was about helping people notice what they hadn’t noticed before and about respecting and caring for the earth.

One of the easiest things people can do is more recycling and use less, she said.

“We have to start locally to protect the earth,” Newman said. 

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