It could be said that Mother Nature re-awakened on April 22, 1970 when the first Earth Day was celebrated, the beginning of the environmental movement of today. Its founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, was fueled by the idea amid a time of anti-war marches and the Santa Barbara oil spill. It is a notion that has led to the Earth Day Network’s recruitment of 75,000 partners in approximately 192 countries, and over one billion worldwide participants.
Following Earth Day on Monday, April 22, the East End community lends its hands and hearts to that billion with several events revolving around our planet Earth.
Southampton Arts Center celebrates the Third Annual Earth Day Fair on the West Lawn Sunday, April 28, from 12 to 4 PM. The day will feature music by Kora player Yacouba Sissoko; face painting Ruby Jackson and Erin McNeill; eco art projects with Laurie Lambrecht, Heidi Lanino, Cindy Pease Roe, and Aurelio Torres; vendors including Plan Bee Balms, Roman Stone Construction, WasteWater Works, Applied Energy Group, and Green Thumb Organics; 1 PM and 3 PM Birds of Prey demonstrations with Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Foundation; and food by Union Cantina and Thyme & Again.
The fair is slated to be a fun-filled day aiming to educate the public on local businesses with solutions for a cleaner planet. Reduce your carbon footprint in a financially responsible way while learning what local organizations are doing to save our planet.
Eco artist Cindy Pease Roe was “raised in a hand-me-down family,” she said, “on the notion that there are limited resources in the world.” However, it wasn’t until seeing the excessive amount of plastic on the shoreline for herself that Roe decided to act. Thus, UpSculpt was created, fusing upcycling and sculpture as a means of creating environmental pieces of artwork meant “to educate and inspire people to change their habits and to rethink their use of plastic in daily life.”
“Mother Nature has always been an inspiration and a source of healing to me,” Roe noted, adding she develops ideas for her artwork through many walks through the woods, mountains, and beaches. Learn more at www.southamptonartscenter.org.
The Surfrider Foundation Eastern Long Island Chapter will be present at the Southampton Arts Center as well. On Saturday, April 27, the organization will honor Earth Day with an event at Quogue Wildlife Refuge with a table featuring a plastic sculpture by Carolyn Munaco, the Rise Above Plastics Coordinator, and will share the results from a recent water quality test.
Since June 2017, the foundation has completed 46 cleanups, removing 7561 pounds of beach debris. Included in that waste was 2735 straws and 1289 balloons, which averages out to be 59 straws and 28 balloons per beach.
“We are so incredibly humbled that Suffolk County legislators voted in April to ban plastic straws and polystyrene foam. This law was voted in less than one year after we launched our Strawless Summer initiative, in which approximately 60 restaurants voluntarily pledged to stop using plastic straws. It still needs to be signed in by county executive, but we’re optimistic!” Colleen Henn, Chapter Coordinator, Eastern Long Island Surfrider Foundation said.
In the past two years alone, East Hampton Town and Village banned polystyrene foam and the intentional release of balloons, which eventually fall back to the ground and pose a threat to animals. Following suit, Southampton Town banned polystyrene foam and plastic straws. “It’s so great to see our lawmakers defending plastic-free beaches! ‘Think Globally, Act Locally’ has never been more important,” added Henn. Visit www.easternli.surfrider.org to get involved.
The South Fork Natural History Museum celebrates Earth Day all week long, with daily nature walks and environmental programs. It will conclude on Saturday, April 27, with free admission to the museum and a variety of nature activities planned.
Frank Quevedo, executive director of South Fork Natural History Museum said, “Earth Day is a day that reinforces the importance of protecting and sustaining our planet. On this day, both adults and children have the opportunity to become responsible stewards of our planet. SOFO has an obligation to teach as many people necessary the strategies and tactics which they can implement in their day-to-day life, to ensure a cleaner, healthier and sustainable environment. SOFO practices environment sustainability year-round by providing unique nature experiences that will inspire the pursuit of future explorations and curiosity as well as foster a lifelong fascination and affection for nature.” Head to www.sofo.org for more information.
The Wading River-Shoreham Chamber of Commerce will hold an Earth Day cleanup Sunday, April 28, from 9 AM to 12 PM at The Shoppes at East Wind. Begin by singing the national anthem with Gina Mingoia. At 9:30 AM, groups will be assigned to local streets or beaches. Trash bags, gloves, and pick up sticks will be provided by towns of Riverhead and Brookhaven. Participants should bring water, and are encouraged to wear bright and protective clothing. Community service certificates are available. Call Wines by Nature to register at 631-886-2800.
The North Fork Environmental Council Earth Day 5K Race/Walk will take place on Sunday, April 28, at Indian Island County Park in Riverhead. Registration begins at 8:30 AM and start time is 10 AM. Fee: $30 day of race, $25 prior. The proceeds will benefit two local student seniors planning to study environmental studies in college. Register at www.earthday5kitsyourrace.com.
In acting locally, reducing the use of plastics and overall waste, picking up trash where it doesn’t belong, recycling, and upcycling, we can protect our wildlife and create a cleaner environment. Earth Day is a reminder that the actions of today impact tomorrow. Learn more at www.earthday.org.