Plans for holding Earth Day 2014 switched to high gear following Mayor Mike Allison’s proclamation encouraging residents from Great Bend and nearby communities to celebrate Earth Day 2014 on Sunday at Great Bend’s Brit Spaugh Zoo. This event is from noon to 4 p.m. and free to all. Food will be sold during the afternoon.
Exhibits and activities related to a healthy environment include “Where’d the Whoopers Go?” by the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, “Adventures in Recycling” by Sunflower Diversified Services, Rooftop Solar by Azimuth Solar Energy, “Naomi and the Balance of Nature” by Ellinwood High School, Organic Food and Herbs by Organic Cupboard, Earth Day Art by Holy Family School, Solar Oven Cookies by Dominican Sisters, Solar Popped Popcorn by Grass Roots Environmental Advocacy Team (GREAT) and “Nitrogen Fertilizing the Right Way” by Great Bend High School FFA. Barton Community College is participating with several exhibits including solar hot air heating, cardboard box furniture and earth friendly cleaners.
For gardeners, there will be exhibits on organic tomatoes by Rosewood Services, heirloom vegetable gardens by GREAT, pollinators by Kansas Wildlife Federation and beekeeping by Swobee Honey Farm. In addition, 200 seed packets of a wide range of rare “antique” varieties of vegetable garden plants from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company will be given away. A drawing for The Heirloom Life Gardener book is also supported by Baker Creek. Rosewood staff will help kids plant a tomato seed to grow at home.
Public participation activities include Zoo educator Sarah Cruz leading visitors on an expedition into the Secrets of Butterflies at 2 p.m. in their Butterfly Garden to learn about making backyards butterfly-friendly and to hang butterfly pupae; and a chance to take a “ride” on the ElectroCycle, a bicycle-powered generator, to see how much “personal energy” is needed for powering up lights and home appliances.
There will also be a drawing to win a reusable water bottle by taking on the Climate Challenge quiz.
In addition, there is the approximately five-mile Ride for the Planet bicycle fun ride (not a race) round trip between the zoo and Veterans Memorial Park is for casual cyclists who enjoy non-competitive riding with others.
Sign-in starts at 11:30 a.m. The ride starts promptly at noon at the zoo headquarters parking area. Ride time for most cyclists is under an hour. Water will be available at Veterans Park restroom fountains.
Youth under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Parent’s waiver required for under 18. Five prize drawings for participating cyclists will be held at 1:30 p.m.
Numerous drawings for coupons and gift certificates are supported by Senior Insurance Consultants of Kansas, My Town, Playa Azul, Papa Murphy’s, Applebee’s, Wendy’s, Dillon’s, Burger King and La Fiesta.
Additional partners and supporters are Sunflower Diversified Services, Wal-Mart, Marmie Ford, Best Western Angus Inn, Office Products Incorporated, Farmers Bank and Trust, Golden Belt Bicycle Company, Sunflower Bank, Credit Union of America, Great Bend Tribune, Barton County Health Department, Volunteers in Action, Be Well Barton County, True Value Hardware, Barton Community College, Great Bend Chamber of Commerce, Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway, Great Bend Police Department and Dominican Sisters of Peace.