Eager environmentalists have more than a few chances to celebrate Earth Day, this weekend.
April 22 will start with cleanup opportunities. The ClearWater Conservancy Watershed Cleanup Day is held 8 a.m.-noon.
“Watershed Cleanup Day represents a rare opportunity to work together with hundreds of other individuals from your community to preserve and improve the health of the local environment,” said water resources specialist Tim Gould. “It is easy to forget how fortunate we are to live in the Spring Creek Watershed, which is quite healthy due to the work of organizations like ClearWater and the vigilance of our community members. Cleanup Day gives people a chance to connect with and maintain the watershed, which helps support the ecosystem and keeps our streams beautiful destinations for fishing, canoeing and hiking in turn.”
Volunteers interested in the event will gather at sites all around Centre County. The cleanup is followed by a volunteer picnic at Tussey Mountain Pond in Boalsburg. More than 500 volunteers participated in 2016, collecting nearly 83 tons of trash, Gould said. To sign up, visit clearwaterconservancy.org or call the ClearWater Conservancy office at 237-0400.
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The organization provides other volunteer opportunities throughout the rest of the year as well.
“Volunteers strengthen our work in so many ways, from helping to maintain our native garden, monitoring the lands we conserve, installing riparian buffers, assisting with data collection in local streams, event planning or simply lending a hand with mailings,” Gould said.
Another cleanup opportunity will take place on April 22, courtesy of the the Penns Valley Conservation Association. The PVCA Stream Bank Cleanup is held 9 a.m.-noon, with volunteers gathering at Coburn Park for assignments and supplies, before dispersing and then later returning to sort recyclables and enjoy a volunteer lunch. Coordinator Annie Mascelli said the family-friendly event is open to anyone who wants to join a cleanup team and “explore some beautiful locales while pitching in to pick up trash.”
“Those of us who live in Penns Valley deeply value the beauty of our surroundings and we want to protect that beauty,” she said. “We also host many fishermen, cyclists and hikers, and we want everyone to enjoy the clean waters and beautiful landscape. Preserving the natural beauty of our region is a high priority.”
The PVCA expects more than 60 volunteers, all coming together for a common cause. If you can’t make the cleanup, they also host quite a few other community events regularly, and are always happy to have volunteers.
“PVCA has many events throughout the year, such as a film series, education days, the Riversongs Festival and our annual celebration of the region, CrickFest, on the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend in Coburn Park. Several committees, such as community events, membership, watershed and development, are always looking for community volunteers all year-round,” Mascelli said.
Speaking of the Riversongs Festival, the April 23 event held 3-6 p.m. at Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks in Millheim is a great chance to help out the PVCA without getting your hands dirty. PVCA director of operations Rebecca Bragg said guests can expect a laid-back, casual and family-friendly atmosphere with live music, craft beer and pub food.
“The live music is always a highlight,” she said. “This year’s lineup includes Celtica, RamaLama and Centrallica. We are also having a large-item raffle. The prizes are awesome and include a kayak, a mountain bike, an original oil painting and a two-night stay and guided half-day fly-fishing trip.”
A $10 donation is requested for admittance, and the gift goes directly to benefit the PVCA environmental education program.
Lastly, you won’t want to miss the Earth Day celebration hosted by the Bellefonte Art Museum. Its “Earth Day Paint Out” features artists creating various works themed around the day both at the museum itself, and also at various destinations and businesses around Bellefonte.
“We hope to have our ‘Paint Out’ become an annual event,” said Patricia House, who is the director of the Bellefonte Art Museum. “This year the museum will be open with artists painting and refreshments available. The children’s creativity center at the museum will be open and we are encouraging families to create a ‘Clean Earth’ mural on our Lego Wall and create as much as they wish with the thousands of legos we have available.”
Artists will also be creating chalk art paintings on the sidewalk in front of the museum, House said.
“Chalk art is fun, and a way to stop traffic and help people take a look,” she siad. “Visitors will be encouraged to see what our artists are painting and thereby see the suggestions they are making as ways to protect Mother Earth.”
Local businesses hosting artists and their work include Wine and Cafe on the Park, Cool Beans Coffee and Tea and Alleycat Quiltworks, among others.
“We hope the day will be a creative and positive experience helping folks to come together and share our responsibility to our communities, our families, our future generations and our earth — as they say, there is no Planet B, this Earth we have is it.’ ”