By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
“Bob” the crayfish was a big hit at the eighth annual Earth Day Community Celebration on Sunday. But it was his bigger buddy “Chompers” with very active pinchers that drew shrieks from the young children.
“You can touch a Maumee River crayfish and go tell your friends,” tempted Christina Kuchle, of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
The annual Earth Day event on the open field next to the Montessori School in Bowling Green was focused on fun – with the hope that children and their parents would go home knowing a bit more about how to protect the environment.
“It kind of ties everything together,” said Amanda Gamby, of the Wood County Solid Waste Management District. “It brings us all together for one last hurrah. It drives home the Earth Day, Every Day message.”
At one booth, Jamie Sands of the Wood County Park District was pushing the message that bees are not bad. Though much maligned creatures, they are very important to humans, she said.
“Ninety-five percent of what we eat is possible because of pollinators,” Sands said. “We love bees. Yeaaaaa bees.”
Next to the booth, children were trying to “pollinate” towering flowers by throwing balls into the centers of the posies.
“We want them to know the importance of pollinators and the importance of pollination,” Sands said.
And in the process, maybe parents were learning a bit, too. Instead of spraying to kill bee hives, Sands suggested a phone call instead. “There are agencies they can call to move the nests,” she said. “We need bees.”
The Bowling Green Tree Commission was also on site, encouraging folks to take note of the value of their trees. By going to itreetools.org/mytree/ people can type in a few facts about their trees and find out the environmental value of them.
Partners for Clean Streams showed fishing line recycling bins. Though stray fishing line may seem harmless, the line can get wrapped around animals and cause them great harm. Plus, the plastic leachate from the lines contaminates the water.
“It all ends up in Lake Erie,” said Paul Fuzinski, program coordinator for Partners for Clean Streams.
By using simple pipe cleaners and beads, children at another booth were taught about the water cycle as they made bracelets with beads representing the sun, rain and soil. Students from the BGSU Environmental Sustainability Group talked the children through each stage in the water cycle.
Kids also got to push around a giant earth ball, and decorate lunch bags with inked paw prints. Cinda Stutzman, of the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department, quizzed the kids ask they checked out the paw prints from a bobcat, duck, wolf, deer, fox and more.
“I’m just here to have fun,” Stutzman said.
Sue Clanton, of United Way, was giving away books to emphasize that like so many other items, books can be recycled, too.
“Gently used books can be used again,” she said.
And the Wood County District Public Library had its bookmobile on site. The vehicle runs on compressed natural gas, which is a low-cost green alternative to gasoline or diesel. The bookmobile is stocked with more than 1,500 items. “There’s something for everybody,” Katherine Lawn said.
Participating in the Earth Day celebration were the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Wood County District Public Library, Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department, BGSU Office of Campus Sustainability, Montessori School, Food and Culture, Northwestern Water and Sewer District, Bowling Green Tree Commission, Wood County Solid Waste Management District, Keep Perrysburg Beautiful, OSU Master Gardener Program, Wood County Park District, BGSU Environmental Science, Partners for Clean Streams, and Snapology.