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Earth Day in Pa. takes on character of birthday gala

April 20, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Happy Earth Day to you. Happy Earth Day, dear Earth. Happy Earth Day to you.

... And many more.

While it wasn't exactly the commemoration of our planet's inception, the 19th annual Earth Celebration Day and Festival of Art took on the ambiance of an enormous birthday party Saturday at Renfrew Park.

Slim Harrison and Tom Jolin -- the Sunnyland Band -- provided entertainment, and several exhibits featured games and live creatures during the celebration, which accompanied the third annual Recycle/Reuse Yard Sale.

Not to be forgotten were the dozens of exhibits showing new and creative ways to conserve energy and promote environmental progress and protection.

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"It's about taking care of nature," said Lori Penrod, co-owner of Traveling Tails in Greencastle, Pa., one of the vendors at the event. "And it's about caring for nature's creatures."

Penrod showcased nine snakes, an iguana and a tortoise during the festivities, and tried to educate visitors about some of the Earth's misunderstood beings.

Among the reptiles was Snuggles, a 9-foot-long, 45-pound snake that 10-year-old Katie Arestad embraced without fear.

"There's not very many animals without legs and I like them," said Katie, of Waynesboro. "I think they're really cool."

Hundreds of others filled the park to celebrate some of the other creations of Earth, including a glowing rocks exhibit. Mike Mowen of Waynesboro, a member of the Franklin County Rock & Mineral Club, gave countless presentations in the park's smokehouse showing some of the rare glowing rocks in the world.

Mowen said there are about 4,000 mineral species in the world, but only 15 percent of them glow.

But the more practical facts came from other stations at the event, such as the information delivered by Waste Management of Greencastle. Community relations manager Cheryl Shields set up a game that gave a person six items -- a loose leaf sheet of paper, a candy wrapper, an aluminum can, a plastic bag, a Styrofoam cup and a steel can -- and each individual had to guess how long each item would take to decompose.

Styrofoam fell in the "Forever" category.

"Pretty much everyone knew about the Styrofoam, but after that, it was kind of iffy," Shields said. "Not a lot of people know about this stuff, and it's our duty to make them aware."

Children from area elementary schools did their part by writing letters and poems and creating art that was pasted on larger sheets of construction paper and hung on a clothesline in the yard sale area.

Pottery, jewelry, photography, wind chimes, woodwork, garden art, basketry and steel forgery were among some of the more adult-oriented artwork.

"The goal is to offer to the public the concept that art, in its many forms, reflects our efforts to celebrate the earth and its life through artistic expression," said Melodie Anderson-Smith, director of the Renfrew Institute, which sponsored the event.

The Franklin County Conservation District hosted a creek cleanup, and the Franklin County Commissioners and Planning Department hosted personal document shredding service at nearby locations.

The nationwide celebration of Earth Day is Tuesday.

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