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Liberty appreciates, learns about Earth
Annual celebration draws a crowd
web 0424 Earth Day 2
A group of children look at a pile of cigarette butts and collect information about litter from the Keep Liberty Beautiful booth on Friday. - photo by Seraine Page

Take care of and love the Earth. After all, we only have one green planet to call our own.
Keep Liberty Beautiful, an organization dedicated to green living and keeping our county clean, held its fifth annual Earth Day celebration, “The Green Scene,” on Friday at the Liberty County Performing Arts Center.
“It’s really a great day,” KLB Executive Director Sara Swida said. “To me, it means a chance to remember we are stewards of the earth. I think all of these messages are there to keep reminding us our personal choices are how we can make every day Earth Day.”  
More than 70 vendors and between 125 and 150 volunteers helped man booths with various earth-friendly arts and crafts, games and recycling information for kids and adults alike, Swida said.
The three-and-a-half-hour event was open to the public for free and sponsored by several different local businesses, the KLB director said. If previous years are an indication, between 800 and 1,000 guests were expected to attend the event.
“Earth Day is important because it helps the environment grow healthier and stronger,” said Jasmine Reeder, an 11-year-old Girl Scout. “We can recycle bottles, cans and paper (to help the earth). And, I recycle at home.”
The very first celebration of Earth Day started on April 22, 1970.
“For over 40 years, Earth Day — April 22 — has inspired and mobilized individuals and organizations worldwide to demonstrate their commitment to environmental protection and sustainability,” according to Earth Day Network’s website.
Earth Day Network promotes environmental campaigns, including climate change and drinking water issues, similar to the types of issues showcased at the KLB event.
Adults and students were encouraged to visit the booths and participate in activities to get signatures from volunteers, which counted toward prize points.
After touring the outdoor vendor booths and gathering signatures, participants could turn in the paper at the prize tent that held more than 1,000 prizes, including Earth Day tote bags, T-shirts and lunchboxes. Adults could win compost bins and other “green” items for participating.
“It’s just a great event to get the community involved in,” KLB board member Daniel Clark said. “Keeping the community clean has economic impact as far as attracting industries and businesses to this area.”
Children also could learn about how to recycle and how to separate plastics from paper and how cigarette butts thrown on the ground really can add up once piled together. More artistic and crafty booths included temporary tattoo application, painting dead fish and using them as stencils to make prints on T-shirts, face painting and henna tattooing.

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