ENVIRONMENT: Earth Day in Takoma Park

ENVIRONMENT • BY SAMANTHA BORTNIKER

“Earth Day is a day to celebrate our environment as a community and to take stock of the impact of our actions,” said Laura Barclay.

This is the first Earth Day Festival the city’s business association helped organized and it will take place Sunday, April 21, from 10a.m. to 4p.m. on Grant Ave at Carroll Ave., Takoma Park.

The free festival includes a “Green Solutions Fair,” a native plants sale,  an environmental speakers series, and entertainment and activities for kids. In addition, the TPSS Co-Op will be hosting a smaller complementary event in their parking lot the same afternoon.

Thousands expected

Barclay, the executive director of Old Takoma Business Association (OTBA), said the Earth Day Festival will “enhance the economic activity, activate the streets and create a sense of community in the Takoma Junction.” Lauren Anderson from Fifth Estate Communications Integrated said they expect around 4,000 people to attend.

OTBA has been organizing this festival since the summer working with Fifth Estate, Historic Takoma, sponsors, vendors, and volunteers.

“Takoma Park has a long standing commitment and tradition to preserve the environment and it makes sense to promote it in really practical and tangible ways,” said Anderson. “It’s a one day event that pulls everything together and people take away things.”

Eager green vendors

Anderson said OTBA and Fifth Estate put together a list of green and environmental friendly businesses and reached out to them asking if they’d want to participate and be sponsors. Barclay added that many vendors contacted them after hearing about the event.

To promote the festival Anderson said they used Twitter, the website, banners and posters, a photo contest, and sending out news releases to spread the word of the exciting new festival.

Photo contest

The photo contest consists of five categories: Spring in Takoma Park, Spring in DC, Celebrating Green Solutions, Eco-Friendly Family, and Ages 12 and Under. The winners will receive an Earth Day t-shirt and have their photo featured on the website.

“People are excited and looking forward to Earth Day so its been really fun to be apart of,” said Anderson looking forward to every aspect of the festival herself. “I’m excited about everything.”

“I am most excited about the event line up for the event. We think that we have something for everyone,” said Barclay.

Barclay added they’d love more volunteers, and if interested to contact Lauren Anderson by email:lauren.anderson@fifthestatci.com . The schedule of events, list of plants for sale, speakers, sponsors, and businesses and organizations can be found on the Earth Day Festival website.

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Green Solutions Fair

There will be more than 35 eco-friendly and green businesses and organizations at the Green Solutions Fair.

“The booth space sold out and there is a waitlist. Many vendors wanted to join in as sponsors to show their enthusiasm and support for this new event,” said Barclay, who is very pleased with the positive feedback the festival has been receiving.

Anderson said it provides consumers with the opportunity to bring their questions about how to make their lives more ecofriendly and talk to local businesses and organizations about initiatives and products.

Environmental Speakers Series

OTBA and Fifth Estate began working with Historic Takoma to organize a speaker series in January, Anderson said.

“They said they’d be happy to help us out with that part of the festival so they found the speakers,” and organized what they were going to talk about putting together the entire series said Anderson.

The current schedule has the series starting at 10 a.m. with Tim Male discussing Saving Endangered Species. 11:30 a.m. Delegate 20 representatives will talk about “Local Environmental Initiatives.” Robert Engelman will present “Is Sustainability Still Possible” at 1 p.m. and at 2:30 p.m. Friends of Siglo Greek will host “What Friends of Siglo Does to enjoy our Watershed.”

“From wildlife conservation to watershed protection, our environmental experts will guide audiences through an in-depth look at some of the most significant issues facing our environment today,” said Barclay.

Native Plants Sale

The festival’s native plants sale is being organized by Purple Mountain Organics.

“Native plants are better for the environment,” said Anderson.

Barclay said people are looking for native plants because they are easy to take care of and promote and enhance the environment and habitat for wildlife to thrive in.

There will be over 20 native plant species available for sale.

Entertainment and Activities

The festival includes both entertainment and activities for children of all ages, and adults, to enjoy throughout the day.

Takoma Plays is setting up a sandbox for a “dig for dinosaurs” activity from 10a.m. to 12p.m.

Marsha Goodman-Wood, a music teacher, will play two sets playing Earth-Day themed music and songs from her record, Gravity Vacation.

Pat Rumbaugh, “The Play Lady,” is signing copies of her book Let’s Play at the Playground.

The organization, CREATE Art Center, will provide all ages with the chance from 2 to 4p.m. to work on a community art project, using only recycled materials, that will later be displayed in the Takoma Park community.

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About the Author

Samantha Bortniker
Samantha Bortniker is a multimedia journalism major at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. She loves creative writing and contributes to several campus publications and blogs.