Earth Day Celebrations Range Beyond The Day, Hartford Courant

By KYLE SWARTZ, Courant Staff Writer

April 17, 2008

On Tuesday, we are encouraged to eschew our SUVs and engage in energy efficiency to observe Earth Day. Here are some family-friendly, environment-themed events before and on the 22nd. All events are free unless otherwise noted.

The University of Connecticut Co-op will hold a Sustainable Living Book Fair and Conference Sunday through Tuesday. On Sunday at 2 p.m., Deb Martin will talk about ideas from her books on composting and gardening. On Monday, Beth Byron of the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund will speak at 3:30 p.m. about how the fund invests in and promotes clean energy sources. Carol Miller of the Coventry Farmer's Market will speak at 4 p.m. about locally produced food. On Tuesday, there will be an Earth Day Spring Fling from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The day will feature a local-organic cookout for a nominal fee, a local rock group, environmental displays and educational games. Also, Dorion Sagan will read at 2:30 p.m. from his work "Notes From the Holocene, a Brief History"; Sarah Pappenheimer of Brown Farm in Scotland, Conn., will speak at 4 p.m. on community supported agriculture. Eric Toensmeier will speak about making a home garden work year-round with ideas from his book "Perennial Vegetables: From Artichokes to Zuiki Taro, a Gardener's Guide to Over 100 Delicious and Easy To Grow Edibles" at 7 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to call in ahead of time to reserve seats for the readings. All books in the Sustainable Living section will be discounted 15 percent during the conference. Information: 860-486-502 or uconnco-op.com.

Gina McCarthy, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection, will present the 2008 Earth Day keynote address at Wesleyan University at 8 p.m. on Tuesday in the University's Memorial Chapel. McCarthy will speak on "Meeting the Environmental Challenges of the 21st Century." A reception will immediately follow in the Zelnick Pavilion for all to attend. The chapel is at 221 High St., Middletown. Information: 860-685-3733 or wesleyan.edu/escp.

The Children's Museum in West Hartford will hold events on Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. Activities include nature-themed crafts, face-painting, animal demonstrations, a large bonfire and music. The Department of Environmental Protection will have a Connecticut wildlife booth on display. The entire museum will be open for exploration. Pre-registration is $10 for members and $12 for non-members. To register, or for more information, call 860-231-2830. The museum is at 50 Trout Brook Drive, West Hartford.

On Friday, the Yale Peabody Museum holds an Earth Day celebration from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Visitors can learn how to plant a garden with native species, as to better attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and other wildlife. Additional activities include identifying living and dried plants, observing caterpillars, listening to a storyteller at 11 a.m., a planting activity for children, and a demonstration on how to avoid invasive plants. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, $5 for children ages 3 through 18, and free for youths younger than 3. The museum is at 170 Whitney Ave., New Haven. Information: peabody.yale.edu.

Children's health and environment advocate Deirdre Imus will read from her new work "Growing Up Green! Baby and Child Care" at Madison's Scranton Library on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Imus' book, the second in her "Green This!" series, deals with topics such as how to eat during a pregnancy; how to make sure your child is vaccinated safely; which plastics are least toxic; how to lobby for safer school environments and support children's environmental health studies. Tickets to the reading are $15.95, include a copy of the book, and are available at R.J. Julia Booksellers or by calling 203-245-3959. All proceeds benefit the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer. There is a suggested library donation of $2 at the door. Scranton Library is at 801 Boston Post Road, Madison.

The Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center of Mystic has been observing Earth Day for over 20 years, and the tradition will continue on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Events include over 25 tables with a wide variety of local green companies and earth-friendly initiatives, a family scavenger hunt, face painting, arts and crafts workshops, a rock wall, puppets, music, and a live animal show. There is a suggested donation of $6 for adults and $4 for children. The museum is at 109 Pequotsepos Road, Mystic. Information: 860-536-1216 or visit dpnc.org.

Housatonic Community College will hold a mini-conference Thursday from 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. in rooms C232 and A228. Speakers include Kat West of Sterling Planet; Yale University Environmental Risk Analysis and Policy Professor John Wargo; Dr. Stephen Danzer; the Department of Environmental Protection's Tracy Babbidge; and Yale geology Professor Mark Pagani, a climate change specialist. The college is at 900 Lafayette Blvd. in downtown Bridgeport. Information: 203-332-5170.

Connecticut College's Earth Day-Community Day celebration will take place on the college's green from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. The environment-themed activities will include musical performances by the Mystic Paper Beats and folk singer and musician Geoff Kaufman, guided tours of the Connecticut College Arboretum's Native Plant Collection, a composting demonstration by the Connecticut chapter of Wild Ones, storytelling, crafts, games, dancing, food, music and more. The public is also invited to bring soil samples for pH testing at the arboretum table. The rain date is Sunday. Connecticut College is in New London. Information: 860-439-2526.

The Windsor Historical Society will go green all week with environment-specific activities. Monday and Tuesday will feature crafts projects made out of recycled materials. On Wednesday, visitors can explore the different uses of plants and gardens. Thursday will feature an examination into the natural resources our ancestors survived on, along with additional craft projects. Patrons can construct pine-cone bird feeders on Friday. There will also be daily guided tours of the Farmington River. Costs are $10 per family, $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for children, and $2 for society members. The society is at 96 Palisado Ave., Windsor. Information: 860-688-3813 or windsorhistoricalsociety.org.

South Woodbury's Middle Quarter Mall will mark its 14th annual celebration of Earth Day on Saturday with over 100 exhibitors sampling the latest in natural and organic food. Local practitioners will be on location to discuss good health and diet. WPKN-FM (89.5) will broadcast live. There will also be yoga classes, massage chair demos, and raffles. The mall is at 738 Main St., South Woodbury. Information: newmorn.com.

The town of Newington looks to expand it's Earth Day celebration to its entire populace on Saturday. The day will begin at 9 a.m. at the Teen Center in Town Hall where volunteers will meet to begin a two-hour cleanup of specific areas in the town. There will be an after-party and energy expo afterward in the Teen Center from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Vendors will be on hand promoting energy-efficient products. Information: 860-982-2815.

The town of Madison will also observe Earth Day this week. On Saturday, there will be a town clean-up, beginning at 8 a.m. at Memorial Town Hall or Roberts Supermarket parking lot. Saturday will also include a shopping-bag exchange at Stop and Shop — trade in your plastic bags for reusable cloth bags. Sunday's events begin at 12:30 p.m. with a Clean Energy Parade featuring hybrids, electric cars, Segways, bikes, and joggers — the parade will traverse Wall and Main streets. From 1 to 4 p.m. there will be a hybrid car show, as well as a recycling and conservation exhibit — both events will be at the post office. From 1:30 to 4 p.m., there will be a series of seminars on home clean-energy options at the Scranton Library. The day wraps up at 4:30 p.m. with a free screening of "Who Killed the Electric Car" at the Madison Arts Cinema. On Tuesday, the town will preview the free solar cells that it earned through the state's clean-energy program. Information: 203-318-0242.