In celebration of Earth Day 2014, the Des Plaines Park District and the Des Plaines Environmental and Energy Program, (DEEP Green), sponsored the seventh annual free Earth Day Youth Fair on Saturday, April 26, at the Cumberland Terrace Fieldhouse.
Hundreds of eco-friendly citizens stopped in to plant blue lake bush beans in peat pots; decorate a reusable canvas lunch bag; learn about eco-friendly fundraising; and add a leaf with a personal green promise to the Dream Tree. Children also visited with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary to learn about how to keep our waterways pollution-free by reducing marine debris. Outside in the park, children went on a nature-inspired scavenger hunt searching for rocks, leaves, flowers, insects, and something "green."
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Global aluminum can manufacturer, Rexam, donated literature about the value and benefits to the environment of recycling cans. In September, Rexam will participate in the 2014 Cans for Cash America Recycles Day Aluminum Can Challenge to raise awareness and involvement in beverage can recycling. Rexam is partnering with United Scrap Metal, a leading local recycler, to gather as many beverage cans as possible and then donate proceeds to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicago and Northwest Indiana. Recyclers can also choose to use their recycling funds to donate to their own organization or chosen charity. For information about the Rexam recycling drive, contact Nancy Mose at email@example.com. Waste Management also supplied literature including a children's educational coloring book and a personal recycling chart to help children recognize their part in saving natural resources.
New at the fair this year, the Des Plaines Bike & Pedestrian Council had information about bike safety and routes. Their goal is to promote a walking and biking mind set and create awareness of the features and benefits to the Des Plaines area of riding a bike to work or to the Metra Station.
Elgin Recycling was also on hand with a list of items they recycle including hardware, household, automobile, yard and garage items, and electronics. The addresses of their five locations in Arlington Heights, Elgin, Palatine, Crystal Lake and Gilberts are available at elginrecycling.com.
Beekeeper John Hansen brought samples of honeycomb for the children to touch and a working bee hive for them to observe. He talked about the importance of bees in the pollination process of apples, broccoli, strawberries, nuts, asparagus, blueberries, and cucumbers.
All visitors at the Earth Day Fair received their choice of a white, red, swamp, or bur oak sapling to take home and plant, courtesy of Living Lands and Waters. Living Lands is an Illinois group aimed at improving the environment. They will give away 150,00 trees this spring. According to the US Department of Agriculture, the net cooling effect of a young healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.
"We are so pleased that so many came out to show their support for a greener environment," said Cindy Yelich, Special Events supervisor. "You are never too young to learn to reduce, reuse, and recycle."
The Des Plaines Park District has a long history of environmental stewardship and sustainable practices. The "Green Team" meets quarterly to review the progress in five key areas: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle; Purchase and Use of Environmentally Safe and Sensitive Products; Conserve Natural Resources; Preserve Natural Ecosystems; and Actively Promote Public Education of Environmental Issues.
The next free community event is the annual Spring Fun Fair, at Mountain View Adventure Center, on May 17 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The fair includes Touch a Truck sponsored by the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce, a Climbing Wall sponsored by the Lattof YMCA, the Pooch, Pet & Pedal Parade, sponsored by the Des Plaines City Special Events Commission, an obstacle-course style inflatable, and representatives from many Des Plaines organizations.
For information on programs, classes, and events at the Des Plaines Park District visit www.DPParks.org or call (847) 391-5700.
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