Earth Day Festival To Focus On Ecology And Personal Wellness

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About 50 organizations and vendors will be on hand for the 17th annual Severna Park Earth Day Festival on Saturday, April 27, from 10:00am to 1:00pm at Severna Park High School. Kids from all of Severna Park’s public schools will also emphasize recycling, upcycling, mindfulness and wellness with this year’s event, which has the theme “Reduce, Reuse, Refresh, Restore: R you in?”

The festival is sponsored by Good Neighbors Group (GNG), a local nonprofit that encourages and facilitates service and giving in the community. Julie Shay runs GNG, and she co-chairs the Earth Day Festival with Severna Park resident and mom Chris Myers. This is the fourth year that seniors from the Severna Park High School Leadership Program are managing the event. Festival student project managers are Michael Isakov, Thomas Voisinet and Alex Kuriawa.

“We expect somewhere between 500 and 1,000 people,” Shay said of attendance at the festival. “We will try to have most of it outside.” The aim is to educate and engage the community with activities, resources and information for participants of all ages. “We want people to come to the festival and learn things that they can apply to their own lives,” Shay explained.

Highlights of this year’s festival include an expanded eco-marketplace that will feature fair trade items from local vendors and craftspeople. There will be upcycled and repurposed sewn items from Honknocker, natural bee products from Maryland’s Bee Havin' second chance social enterprise, as well as Maryland Queen Bee. GNG and Hope Depot will sell fair trade items from around the world.

A bike-powered blender will mix smoothies, and there will be other farm-to-table treats like salads and fruit bowls. The Big Bean will sell coffee at the event.

The Anne Arundel County recycling program will run an electronics collections booth, and Best Buy has signed on to take TVs and monitors for a $25 fee. Chesapeake Computer Refurbishing Group will collect flat-screen monitors and computers.

In addition, Leveling the Playing Field will accept donated sports equipment including trophies and teamwear to provide to underprivileged youth, and Music4More will collect used musical instruments. Gently used and new school supplies will be collected for the Baltimore Teacher Supply Swap — specifically pens, pencils, highlighters, Post-it notes, index cards, dry erase markers, lined notebook paper, copy paper, construction paper, tissues and hand sanitizer. Orphan Grain Train will gather new or gently used crayons, pencils and composition books, and local animal sanctuary and rescue organization MAS Rescue will take heartworm and flea-and-tick preventive medicines that have not expired.

“It’s our hope that people will take advantage of this convenience and recycle these items instead of adding them to the waste stream,” Shay said.

Wellness activities will include yoga with Park Kids Yoga and YogaWorks, as well as meditation resources and nutrition counseling. Mental health and suicide prevention experts will be at the event.

The Earth Day Festival will provide environmental educational booths and demonstrations. For more information, visit www.earthdayfestivalSP.org.

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