Free events celebrate Earth Day in the 209

With Earth Day just around the corner, cities throughout the 209 have you covered with local events that are both eco — and wallet — friendly

BY ALYSSON AREDAS

Modesto
The City of Modesto will host its 28th annual Earth Day in the Park Festival, a free community event aimed at making an impact towards zero waste by sharing ideas on how residents can reduce, reuse, recycle and compost at home, school and work.

“The City of Modesto is an ongoing supporter of Earth Day and believes it is important to have an event that brings the community together in a positive effort towards change in respect to our environment,” said Recycling Program Coordinator Vicki Rice. “Together we are working towards water and energy conservation efforts to preserve our natural resources. We are conscious of the importance of recycling and composting so we can see real movement towards the reduction in our landfill use statewide and ultimately great strides towards zero waste.”

With a family-friendly atmosphere centered around “green education,” the annual festival will feature over 100 exhibitors, food, kids’ arts and crafts, a Trash-Formation art contest, prizes and a petting zoo. There will also be unique entertainment performances, including interactive play by Bubblemania & Company, the Silly String Band and ongoing music and games by TNT Productions.

On Stoddard Avenue between Park and Sycamore Avenue, there will also be a FREE O B-Green event, a convenient drive-through that will give festival goers the opportunity to recycle e-waste, ink cartridges, batteries and more. All proceeds will go towards the City of Modesto’s “Adopt a Park” program, which is currently raising money for The Awesome Spot playground at Beyer Community Park. Additionally, the Modesto Sunset Leo’s Club will be collecting eyeglasses and making pet blankets for pet adoptions programs, while the Hope Chest Thrift Store will be collecting donations to support the Hospice Heart organization.

The City of Modesto’s 28th annual Earth Day in the Park festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 22 at Graceada Park on the corner of Needham Street and Sycamore Avenue in Modesto. Community members can also catch a free ride to the event from Stanislaus Regional Transit (StaRT) by mentioning Earth Day. For more information, visit modestogov.com/415/Earth-Day.

Hughson
Those looking to celebrate Earth Day in the company of historical trees need look no further than the Hughson Arboretum and Garden in Hughson. While the nonprofit has hosted an open garden for the past 10 years, this is the first year that organizers decided to coincide the free event with Earth Day, according to Board President Thomas Clark.

“Earth Day is a really wonderful time of year for the Arboretum because that’s when the trees start blooming,” said Clark. “It’s really beautiful out there.”

The history of the arboretum in Hughson dates back approximately 20 years after Margaret Sturtevant envisioned a place filled with beautiful trees where community members could go to relax, meditate or learn more about the plants around them. Sturtevant, who passed away last year, left behind the Hughson Arboretum, which is a 12-acre tree garden on the corner of Euclid Avenue and Whitmore Avenue.

During the Open Garden event, guests can take in a number of historical trees, including a George Washington Tulip Poplar, which was first planted at Mount Vernon in 1798, an American Elm Survivor Tree from the Oklahoma City bombing, and a Redwood Slab that was created by an Act of Congress. The Earth Day celebration will also include live music, wine, hors d’oeuvres and children’s activities.

“Trees are incredibly beneficial to the environment that we live in,” said Clark. “So we’re trying to get the word out that we’re here.”

The Hughson Arboretum Open Garden Earth Day event will take place from noon to 4 p.m. on April 22 at 2490 Euclid Avenue in Hughson. For more information, visit the Hughson Arboretum and Gardens Facebook page.

Stockton
Stockton locals are invited to the 29th annual Earth Day Festival, which will revolve around the theme “Water is Life” this year. As the area’s premier environmental event, the festival will focus on educating local residents on how to take care of the environment.

“Over the course of the day, we probably get 10,000 people,” said volunteer Martin Saltzman. “For one day out of the year it is nice to set aside some of the other issues and problems we have as people or as a nation and focus on Earth.”

This year’s festival will kick off at 10 a.m. with an hour of yoga on the park green followed by an array of informative and interactive booths, demos, displays and exhibits from over 80 vendors throughout the day. Local schools will provide a variety of hands-on activities and environmental organizations will educate guests on important green issues and how they can make a difference.

There will also be a variety of local bands and cultural groups providing entertainment during the event, including a number of jazz, blues, rock, new age electronica, bluegrass and swing music. Entertainment will start with the Stockton Bukkyo Taiko Drummers at 11 a.m. and ending with an organic drum circle at 4 p.m.

The 29th Earth Day Festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 23 at Victory Park behind Haggin Museum in Stockton. Those who choose to bike to the event will also be invited to secure their bicycles in a safe bike corral staffed by the San Joaquin Bike Coalition. Admission is free. For more information, visit livegreensanjoaquin.org or email [email protected].

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