Celebrating Earth Day

Annual event continues dedication to the cause

Photo submitted by Prudence Burgardt Children make creatures out of wood at a craft table at last year’s Community Earth Day Celebration.

By Kate York

The Marietta Times


It’s the 18th year for the annual Community Earth Day Celebration in Marietta and the event will focus on some old traditions–like the Sweet Gum Ball Contest–and some newer additions that include a chance to learn how to install solar panels.

“There’s an informational piece to it and also just a lot of fun activities,” said Kathy Ortt, who helps organize the event. “People can learn about how they can be a little more green day to day and also just have a day to appreciate the earth and to celebrate it.”

Ortt’s late mother, Marilyn, helped found the event and came up with many of the activities that still remain, including the Trash-to-Art Contest and the Sweet Gum Ball Contest, during which participants are judged on their ability to find a creative use for the gum balls.

“One of the things my mom always wanted to get across was these things which everyone just thought of a nuisance falling from trees can do some good,” she said. “And that with something you might normally throw away, you can get really creative.”

Ortt said they’ve had some very inventive entries in both contests over the years.

“For the Trash-to-Art Contest, we had a woman who took lint from her dryer and made paper from it and then drew art on it,” she said.

Entries for the contest can be dropped off at the main table at 10 a.m. Saturday, when the celebration begins. The Earth Day festivities continue until 2 p.m. on the Armory lawn. The entire event, sponsored by Peoples Bank and the Marietta Area Recycling Center, is free. Other organizations also sponsored various aspects of the celebration.

“We’ll have several different hands-on stations,” said Connie Grimes, organizer and longtime committee member. “The Pioneer Ladies Civitan club will be making bamboo bee houses and shrinky dinks. You take No. 6 plastic and decorate it and then put it in the toaster oven to shrink it to a credit card size. Kids can take it with them.”

There will also be environmental displays and demonstrations, a performance from High Schools That Rock from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and a visit from the West Virginia Raptor Rehabilitation Center.

“It’s a great opportunity to see some raptors up close,” said Ortt. “These are birds that have been injured and are unable to be released back into the wild so they use them for educational opportunities and to study them, also. They’re going to have an owl, a falcon and a Swallow-tailed Kite.”

All the aspects of the celebration allow for fun without technology, said Ortt.

“It’s back to the basics, which is fun,” she said.

If you go

¯ What: Marietta Community Earth Day Celebration.

¯ When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

¯ Armory lawn, 241 Front St.

¯ Cost: Free.