Renfrew's Earth Day activities go inside

April 22, 2002|BY STACEY DANZUSO

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Organizers of most outdoor events attracting 500 people would be upset if rain pushed the festivities inside.

But Melodie Anderson-Smith was grateful for the rain - even though it forced Renfrew's Earth Day event Sunday indoors to Waynesboro Area Middle School.

Anderson-Smith, executive director of the Renfrew Institute for Cultural and Environmental Studies, said the rain didn't dampen the 12th annual event.

"I am thankful for the rain," she said. "We didn't really lose anything. Almost all of the exhibitors came."

Rain and water proved to be a theme of the day, with many exhibits focusing on water conservation - a particularly relevant message for Franklin County residents who have been under a state-ordered drought emergency since February.


"The most common question I'm hearing is 'Should I even plant a garden?'" said Lana Adams, a horticulturist with the Penn State Cooperative Extension Office.

Her display offered tips for gardeners to conserve water, and yes, she encouraged people to keep planting.

"You can always water vegetables in Pennsylvania," she said. "If you are producing food, you can water."

She recommended people put tubs out to collect rainwater as it drains off rooftops and to store it covered until needed to water the garden.

Other tips included choosing plants that are drought-tolerant, using mulch effectively, keeping gardens free of weeds, and screening or shading plants.

Girl Scout Troop 1005 put together a display on the water cycle, water pollution and water conservation as part of a service project, said Kathy Wood, assistant troop leader.

"The girls voted on a project and we thought anything dealing with the drought would be pertinent," she said.

Four different animal groups were added to this year's lineup of exhibitors, including Rehabitat Inc.

The nonprofit group rehabilitates injured birds of prey in Franklin, Perry, Dauphin, Cumberland and Adams counties.

Holding an Eastern screech owl, volunteer Shianne Stitely was attracting a lot of interest from the children in the crowd.

"It's one of the most common birds of prey in the area. This one was hit by a car and can't see out of its left eye," she said.

The group took in about 200 birds last year, and 75 percent were able to be released back into the wild when they healed, said volunteer Neil Roth.

Dylan Bryan, 7, thought the birds were the most interesting thing at the Earth Day event.

The first-grader at Summitview Elementary School learned about birds of prey in school and wanted to come, said his mother, Tracy Bryan, of Waynesboro.

The East Coast Exotic Animal Rescues display captured 7-year-old Joshua Pasch's attention.

"He's really into recycling and anything to do with animals," said his mother, Lori Pasch. "He brought me here."

About 300 people came out to the event, Anderson-Smith said. Earth Day is officially observed today.

The annual kite-fly, which was canceled because of rain for the second time this month, will not be rescheduled, she said.

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