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Harford County celebrates Earth Day in Aberdeen

Betty Taylor, 53, said she remembers the "old Aberdeen," a city full of military families.

On Saturday afternoon, as her grandson Andrew Taylor, 8, threw balls at a recycled game at Aberdeen Festival Park, Taylor said she is glad to see the progress the city is making.

"I'm happy to see Aberdeen is making a turnaround," said Taylor, who has been in the area since 1973. "The focus was on the wrong things, like the [Ripken] stadium, which many of us couldn't afford to go to."

She liked being able to celebrate Earth Day in her community.

"Aberdeen is becoming a community," Taylor said . "This park had been here a long time and it's been empty."

By noon Saturday, a few hundred people had piled into Aberdeen Festival Park to celebrate the 11th annual Harford County Earth Day.

Harford Earth Day coordinator Jim Litkes said he puts on the event yearly to "benefit Mother Earth" and the community.

"We have to think about alternative ideas; go solar when you can," Litkes said. "I believe in keeping Mother Earth rolling."

Litkes said the event started as a way to make Harford residents aware of the environment.

He said organizations such as Wildlife Adventures in Jarrettsville, which brought iguanas, snakes and other critters to show the visitors, help to bring area residents closer to nature.

Litkes said he believes in preserving the environment. He said when you don't recycle it fills up the landfills.

Howard Eakes, of Harford Glen Environmental Center, said all of the games at Earth Day were made from recycled materials.

"We want kids to see they can make really fun games," Eakes said. "You don't have to spend money because everything here would end up in a landfill – if it wasn't recycled."

Litkes said last year more than 2,000 game winning tickets were collected during the event. Kids turn in the tickets for recycled trinkets.

Volunteer Allie Shedleski, a student a C. Milton Wright High School, 16, helped to show kids how to make electricity and energy using their own bodies by peddling on a special bicycle created by Litkes.

"The point is really to raise awareness about health and the environment, making earth healthier," Allie said. "We only have this [one] and if we ruin it that's it."

Mason Stevenson, 6, of Bel Air, who came to the festival with his mother, Donna Stevenson, was dressed as a firefighter, although he said he wants to be a police officer.

Mason said he learned three things at the festival, "reduce, reuse, recycle."

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