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Howard County Times
Howard County

‘You are never too young or too old to learn.‘ In Howard County, celebrating Earth Day is back in full swing.

While the official date of Earth Day is April 22, Howard County kicked things off early on April 9 with the 15th annual Greenfest celebration at Howard Community College. The event, which the county bills as its “largest Earth Day celebration,” featured demonstrations, paper shredding, workshops, activities, a repair cafe and live animals including red-tailed hawks and turtles. Several thousand people attended, according to Greenfest co-chair Alan Wilcom.

“The residents of Howard County are very interested in what they can do to further help the environment,” Wilcom said. “We like to say we have something for all ages. You are never too young or too old to learn.”

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Earth Day, which was first celebrated in 1970, is meant to increase awareness of environmental problems. It is often recognized by groups hosting local cleanups, tree plantings and environmental projects.

In 2020, the pandemic forced Greenfest to be held virtually with different workshops featured.

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“We were all ready to go [before the pandemic shut things down] and we really scrambled to do something,” Wilcom said. “Last year was limited, with just a native plant sale outside.”

This year’s event marked a return to normal, with numerous county agencies, community groups and businesses participating, and activities held both inside the college’s Burrill Galleria building and outside.

“We were back in full force,” Wilcom said. “It is very much a joint effort. We were quite busy all day.”

Howard EcoWorks, a nonprofit that sells native plants grown at its Seeds of Change nursery and “seed bombs” made of compost, soil and native plant seeds, participated in Greenfest and will take part in the new Wilde Lake Earth Day event on Saturday.

“While we do believe that every day is Earth Day at EcoWorks, Earth Day itself is an excellent time to raise awareness and interact with the public and community around our most important environmental issues,” wrote Lori Lilly, executive director of EcoWorks, in an email. “The public interface opportunities at these events help us to educate the public about the importance of native plants for biodiversity but also about the social benefits of engaging underserved populations in conservation work.”

With Friday marking the official Earth Day celebration, there are still numerous activities happening throughout the county over the weekend to increase awareness and help aid the local environment.

Earth Day events:

Friday

Earth Day Celebration for Toddlers, 10:30 a.m.-noon. Sharp’s at Waterford Farm, 4003 Jennings Chapel Road, Brookeville. 410-489-2572. $9. Designed for children 5 and under, Sharp’s program offers lessons on worms, composting and recycling, and takes youths on a hayride.

“We celebrate Earth Day every day,” said Cheryl Noder, Sharp’s program director. “I really like taking kids on a true farm experience. Being young, it is important to make kids more aware. Their generation could really help.”

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Earth Day Biochar Burn: 3:30-6 p.m. Freetown Farm, 8000 Harriet Tubman Lane, Columbia. Watch donated Christmas trees transform into a soil amendment, which is material added to soil to improve its ability to host roots. The event is hosted by Howard EcoWorks. Register at howardecoworks.org.

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Saturday

Earth Day service projects, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Howard County Conservancy, 10520 Old Frederick Road, Woodstock. 410-465-8877. Projects include invasive plant removal, garden cleanup and tree planting. People can also swap incandescent light bulbs for free LEDs from 10 a.m. to noon. A hike to the Patapsco River will be held at 9 a.m.

“There will be a lot of opportunities to get involved,” said Meg Boyd, executive director of the conservancy. “A lot of time families like to do service projects together. We typically have 200 people attend.”

Wilde Earth Day Celebration, 10 a.m.-noon. Slayton House, 10400 Cross Fox Lane, Columbia. Wilde Lake Community Association’s first Earth Day celebration will feature a seed and plant exchange, a native plant sale by Howard EcoWorks, a community bike ride, crafts, information and a performance by Wilde Lake High School’s step group G4L.

“It’s a great opportunity to help little guys understand why you need to protect Earth,” said Lisa Kim, Wilde Lake’s special events manager. “It will be a lot of fun for kids. Adults can learn, too.”

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Earth Day Celebration, 1-4 p.m. Clarksville Commons, 12230 Clarksville Pike, Clarksville. Nonprofits, vendors and an electric vehicle meet-up.

“We’ve always done Earth Day as a mix of eco-minded nonprofits, local government, for profit businesses and farmers,” said Anastasia MacDonald, Clarksville’s director of community relations, of the event that has been held since 2018. “We [the commons] were designed with a spacious plaza to bring people together.”


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