This week is Environmental Education Week and Sunday is Earth Day. What a great week to remember how important our natural resources are for all of us.
On Tuesday, we had a fun — and educational — opportunity to do just that at the Kids’ Earth Day in the Park at Bradwell Park. Thanks to a number of supportive sponsors and 29 volunteers, more than 200 local children and their parents enjoyed a sidewalk chalk art contest with an Earth Day theme, environmental exhibits from around the area, and a hilarious educational program, “Water, Water Everywhere” presented by national environmental educator Jack Golden.
I really appreciate everyone who played a part in making this event happen because we need to help our children understand the importance of caring for our world and its resources, particularly our water resources.
The Coastal Courier, McDonald’s Restaurants, DPW Environmental Division, U.S. Army MWR Services, Liberty County Chamber of Commerce, Hinesville Downtown Development Association, Adolescent Health and Youth Development Program and Liberty County United Way wanted to emphasize the importance of educating our youth about our responsibility to care for our environment. We owe each of them as well as the exhibitors, Mr. Golden and our volunteers, sincere thanks for their support. I cannot forget all the businesses downtown and the folks at the courthouse and the sheriff’s department who were so accommodating as we set up that afternoon. Thanks also to Over Coffee for bringing delicious samples for everyone. They were great!
Our theme was “Water ... Life Depends on It.” I hope the families who came shared the same experience one mother told me about yesterday: “My 3-year-old son is now the water police, telling me to turn off the water whenever I use the faucet.” Hopefully, we are helping to create many young water and environmental police.
Along that same theme, here are a few more ideas to minimize the effects of stormwater pollution:
• Traditional concrete and asphalt pavement do not allow water to soak into the ground. Using permeable pavement options, even in combination with the traditional paving like concrete and asphalt, can allow rain to soak through. This, in turn, decreases stormwater runoff. The First Baptist Church parking lot is a good example of a parking lot in town that uses a combination of traditional paving with some parking spots using permeable paving.
• Rainwater can be collected from rooftops in mosquito-proof rain barrels. This collected water can be used to water lawns, gardens and landscaping. The use of rain gardens and grassy swales can be used so rain from rooftops or paved areas can be diverted to these areas rather than storm drains. These swales and gardens are specially designed areas planted with native plants. These become natural places for rain to collect and soak into the ground.
• Vegetated filter strips are areas of native grass or plants created along paved areas or streams. They help trap any pollutants that might be washed along with stormwater as it flows over paved areas like driveways, roads and sidewalks.
A terrific example of a retail center using all of these ideas and many more green building and maintenance practices is the Abercorn Commons Shopping Center in Savannah. Sure, I like the stores there — Home Goods, Michael’s and others — but going there is like a mini-environmental education experience. A variety of signs around the shopping center share information about the use of permeable pavements, collecting rainwater for re-use, retail recycling and more. I understand this is one of the first major “green” retail development projects in the nation. It is well worth checking it out to see how living and working “green'”can work in real life.
Great American Cleanup reminders:
• April 21 (8 a.m.-noon): Hinesville Neighborhood Watch Cleanups. Contact Officer Michael Trombley at 368-8211 or your local Neighborhood Watch coordinator.
• April 21 (8 a.m.-noon): City of Flemington Cleanup on Old Sunbury Road and Peacock Canal. Contact Flemington City Hall at 877-3223 or email@example.com
• April 21 (8 a.m.-noon) City of Midway Cleanup Day. Meet at city hall. To volunteer, call 884-3344.
• April 22: Earth Day
• April 28 (8 a.m.-noon) Hinesville’s Highway 84 Cleanup to the Limits. To volunteer, call Trombley at 368-8211 or KLCB at 368-4888.
• TBA: Cleanup dates in Riceboro, Walthourville, Lake George, Woodland Lakes and more. To help in these areas, call KLCB at 368-4888.
• May 12: Cleanup at Martha Stevens Park
• May 17-19: Old Tire Roundup in Liberty County. Noncommercial and Liberty County residents only may participate. No commercial customers. Call 368-4888.
• May 19 (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) Recycle It! Fair at the old hospital site on Highway 84.
Help local organizations and nonprofits collect items for recycling from old athletic shoes, plastic bottles, cell phones, aluminum cans — even old cars. Any nonprofit groups wishing to participate should call KLCB at 368-4888. Clean out your closets and help your community too!
• Through May 31: Young Adult Liberty Leaders and local schools are spearheading a recycling collection for plastic bottles (soda and water type bottles) with the Students for Recycling national project. Please help these young leaders as they lead this drive for our community.
Midway Middle School Builders Club is collecting athletic shoes for recycling through the Nike Grind project. So start gathering those shoes because all parts of these them can be recycled.
For more information on Keep Liberty County Beautiful programs, contact me at 368-4888 or firstname.lastname@example.org