Ever since the first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970, it’s been a rallying point for people to protect the planet’s environment. What began in Philadelphia is now a worldwide event with approximately 200 countries participating, according to earthday.org
For the past two years, Earth Day has been celebrated at Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library. In 2017, rain forced the local inaugural event inside the fire station. But this year, Mother Nature cooperated and the four-hour event happened on the library’s lawn.
Library Executive Director Joanna Breen was one of several event organizers. She thought the weather and local participation were both fantastic. “I’m thrilled with the turnout. We are the central binding agent for many of these organizations around the peninsula and I think the library lawn is a perfect place for this,” Breen said.
The main attraction was the Chewonki presentation “Animal Adaptation." Science Education Fellow Siobahn Prout explained how animals adapt to their surroundings. She had a touch table featuring animal teeth and bones, costumes for demonstrating various animal skins, presented a live woodchuck, Eastern box turtle and saw whet owl.
Nine other local non-profit groups participated in the celebration. The Garden Club featured an exhibit explaining why native plants are important to the local environment. “It’s important for pollinators,” said club member Kathleen Marty. “Bees and butterflies need them for shelter and food.”
Pollinators were also central to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens' exhibit. Youth and Family Program Coordinator Erika Huber discussed pollinators like butterflies and their environment. She also educated people on how butterflies and moths differ.
The Boothbay Region Water District explained how a watershed works. Program Manager Sue Mello used a watershed model on particles' draining into lakes and impacting water quality.
The Boothbay Sea and Science Center demonstrated how pollution impacts sea creatures. Executive Director Pauline Dion provided materials for making jellyfish out of recycled materials like used soup containers. She explained how ocean debris like balloons and plastics harm marine life like jellyfish.
Connecting people to the outdoors was the theme of Boothbay Region Land Trust’s exhibit. Environmental Director Tracey Hall used a touch table with various items demonstrating how people can enjoy nature’s beauty.
This was Lincoln County Gleaners' first Earth Day at the library. The group is less than a year old.It has 15 members and harvests excess produce from local farms. The food is later donated to local food pantries.
Boothbay Railway Village explained how past turbine technology is important to understanding modern ones. Executive Director Margaret Hoffman used a pinwheel to demonstrate how a wind turbine works. “Regardless of what technology is used, the same principle regarding a spinning turbine produces electricity whether the source is wind, solar or fossil fuels,” Hoffman said.
The Boothbay Region Refuse Disposal District promoted recycling and educated about how waste is disposed. District employee Anna Giles explained local refuse is no longer going to the PERC plant in Orrington. It is currently being hauled to a landfill in Norridgewock, but this fall, it will go to a new bio fuel plant in Hampden.
According to earthday.org, the theme of Earth Day 2018 was ending plastic pollution.