Kansas Wetlands Education Center is celebrating Earth Day 2013 with solar-baked cookies, organic gardening, nature art and alternative energy vehicles. The free public event runs from 1:30-5 p.m. on Sunday, April 21, at the KWEC, located 10 miles northeast of Great Bend on K-156 just inside Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area.
KWEC Manager Curtis Wolf said this year’s Earth Day theme is “Protecting Our Planet for a Sustainable Future.”
“This event is a continuing partnership with Heartland Farm and the Grassroots Environmental Action Team (GREAT),” Wolf said. Heartland Farm is a ministerial outreach of the Dominican Sisters where people can learn about small-scale sustainable organic farming, energy efficient homes, holistic health and other innovative programs. GREAT is a local environmental advocacy relying on ethics and science for guidance on environmental issues, believing that a healthy natural environment leads to a healthy, strong and prosperous America.
Wolf describes the Earth Day 2013 event as a “sustainability fair” where people can come to see wildlife conservation, environmentalism and business working together to celebrate responsible use of our planet.
GREAT member Felix Revello said the event offers something for everyone, as it “represents the best of American traditions of conservation, entrepreneurship and responsibility to community.”
New this year is a kite fly-in. It includes the Recyclable Kite Contest at 2 p.m., followed by the non-competitive “Go Fly a Kite!” open invitation for all to enjoy flying their favorite kites. The Recyclable Kite Contest is for children in grades 3-6, who are invited to build kites at home from used or recyclable materials and decorated with artwork showing plants or animals from Cheyenne Bottoms. The kites can be taken to the KWEC to be judged. Gift certificates for the KWEC store will be awarded for the top three kites. Detailed entry rules are on the Internet at wetlandscenter.fhsu.edu/.
Demonstrations and exhibits will be offered throughout the event. Heartland Farm and GREAT are demonstrating solar cooking, ElectroCycle, heirloom gardening, worm composting and “sustainability challenge” with prizes. Rosewood Services is demonstrating garden potting techniques. Photos by Dr. Dan Witt, noted wildlife photographer, will be displayed.
Exhibits from area students include a tumbler composter, hydrogen production and water cycle exhibit by Great Bend High School; recycled art by Hoisington High School art students; and a Global Warming display by Ellinwood High School.
Exhibitors of fuel efficient vehicles include Dove Chevrolet of Great Bend. Great Bend High School students will be exhibiting their “Electric Racer.”
“Recycle Bin,” Sunflower Diversified’s mascot, will be entertaining and educating the kids about recycling.
Drawings will be held for numerous prizes, including a signed copy of “Heirloom Life Gardener” from Baker Creek Seed Company; Earth Day T-shirts from Sunflower Diversified Services, a kite from Into the Wind Kite Company and a child’s nature book from GREAT.