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Earth Day highlights Georgia Cities Week

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POSTED: April 24, 2009 9:50 a.m.
Photo by Frenchi Jones/

A young Earth Day participant picks up a turtle thta was on display.

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Like many local children, toddler Aubrey Poole stood in the sunshine Wednesday giggling as she fed handfuls of greens to a giant rabbit owned by Hampton Island Preserve. Eyes wide, she soon moved on to watch a small diamondback terrapin splash around in a tank, and finally made her way to see the squirming ferrets.
And, while playing with her new four-legged friends at Hinesville’s Earth Day in the Park celebration, Aubrey also was exposed to eco-friendly ideas such as organic composting, gardening, recycling and a number of other suggestions designed to make the world a healthier, greener place.
“We’re here today to educate kids about conservation,” said Andy Schwartz, assistant manager at the all-organic farm on the preserve.
The Earth Day festivities were part of Hinesville’s Georgia Cities Week celebration and, coupled with a Public Services Day presentation, helped local families get better acquainted with Hinesville and all it has to offer.
According to Keep Liberty Beautiful Director Sara Swida, about 55 vendors and more than 300 people showed up for the green-themed event, including guest appearances by Ronald McDonald and the world’s largest crayon, which Liberty County holds the record for.
“It’s education in a fun way,” Swida said. “And it’s not just things kids are interested in. Adults get lots of ideas, too.”
After checking out the Earth Day information and activity booths, children like Poole could cross the street and visit with the people who keep the city up and running, such as firefighters, police officers and other civil service personnel. Children marveled at fire engines and police cruisers and watched as a city worker maneuvered a spider, a transformer-like machine with four legs used for clearing ditches.
Enthusiastic parents brought children out in droves to learn from DNR representatives, visit with animals from the Midway petting zoo, participate in a sidewalk art contest and get their faces painted.
“It’s important they learn at an early age and have it on their mind. The earlier the better,” said Nicki Williams who brought her 2- and 4-year-old sons, along with their 6-year-old friend, to learn about caring for the Earth. “We’ve got to teach them to take care of where they live.”
Some of the other vendors, such as Natural Farmer’s Foods, were there to teach both adults and children about the connection between healthy bodies and a healthy planet. Store employees Liz Burks and Brenda Rettke said the shop gets all its fresh food from local organic farmers and gives residents a chance to live more naturally.
“The things we consume have a big impact on our bodies,” Burks said. “People should be careful about what they put into their body.”
Georgia Cities Week continues today with two free concerts, one at lunchtime in Bradwell Park and a jazz concert in the evening. There will also be a citywide cleanup Saturday where children will also have the opportunity to learn about safety.
 

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