GAMBIER — A celebration of Earth Day was held Sunday at the Kenyon Athletic Center. The event was sponsored by Kenyon College, along with Knox Community Hospital, the Knox County Board of Health and the Knox County Parks District.
The festival featured nearly 70 vendors of green, healthy and recyclable products.
One popular feature was a butterfly exhibit by the Brown Family Environmental Center at Kenyon College. The exhibit featured live butterflies and several specimens of preserved butterflies. Siobhan Fennessy, co-executive director of the BFEC, was showing Gene Shepherd some of the exhibits.
“This is quite an exhibit,” Shepherd said. “This is a great event. I think Earth Day is very important to remind us to keep or world in good shape for our children.”
Linette Porter-Mettler was in charge of the Red Cross booth. She spent some time telling Levi and Caleb Hartz and their cousin, Jacob Smith, about home safety.
“I was here because my uncle was in the race,” said Smith. “But I learned something here. I learned we should practice our fire plan.”
Shelia Berger of Columbus was here for the run and the festival itself.
“I was here for the half marathon,” she said. “It was my very first one I was ever in, and [they] did just an amazing, awesome job. There was amazing scenery and it was so well organized. I didn’t get lost or anything. And Earth Day is a good cause and everybody’s becoming aware. If we want it to last awhile, we’re going to have to take care of it.”
Bob McIlvane was on duty at The Station Break booth.
“We have some energy-efficient light bulbs donated by AEP that we’re giving away,” he said. “We’re giving them away primarily to seniors, but we have a few left over from some of our clients, so I’m giving them away to everybody. We also have some Zone Bars, which I found out are more nutritious than Nutri-Grain Bars. So we’ve upgraded to the Zone Bars at The Station Break and I’m also giving some away to seniors today. Then we have brochures about the services we provide at The Station Break. There’s a real need for those services. We are doing mowing for seniors again. We have 185 clients this year.”
McIlvane also shared his thoughts about the meaning of Earth Day.
“I think it’s important to teach people how to recycle and how buy smarter,” he said. “Just like these light bulbs. Incandesents use 60 watts. These use 13 watts. So I think it’s important to show the savings, not only in the pocketbook, but for the environment.”
Kim Marshall of the Knox County Parks District was on hand with Rob Clendening of the Knox Soil & Water Conservation District to let people know about what was going on with their organizations.
“We’re excited about this Earth Day event,” Marshall said. “We’re one of the sponsors and we’re telling people to get up and get outside. We have a wonderful system of hiking and bike trails in the county. And we’ve got a new program with the Convention and Visitors Bureau called Knoxways. it’s about exploring and enjoying Knox County.”
“We’ve got information on groundwater protection here today,” Clendening explained. “It goes along with the Earth Day theme, and it’s one of our most important resources. So far, there’s been a lot of interest today.”