Lawrencians enjoy crafts, s’mores, educational activities and more during Earth Day Fair

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Post updated at 10:28 a.m. Sunday, April 23:

Community members braved the chilly weather Saturday afternoon to attend the Earth Day Fair in South Park. Twenty organizations from Lawrence and beyond offered free crafts and educational activities for kids and adults alike. 

Earth Day began in 1970 with the goal of educating the public on the problems of pollution. Saturday marked the 53rd annual celebration. Each year, the city’s celebration focuses on a specific element of climate change. “Invest in our Planet” — this year’s theme — points to the importance of everyone doing their part to create an equitable future. 

Organizations including the Lawrence Ecology Teams United in Sustainability (LETUS), the Sierra Club, the Watkins Museum of History and the Jayhawk Audubon Society lined the sidewalks with tables and encouraged passersby to learn more about a variety of topics. 

Kids converted milk cartons into birdhouses, enjoyed s’mores made in a solar-powered oven, made seed balls and even held tarantulas. 

Cans for the Community got closer to their goal of recycling 5,000 pounds of aluminum by collecting the admission fee: one aluminum can per person. All proceeds from the drive will benefit elementary schools in Lawrence. 

If you missed the fair but still want to celebrate Earth Month, a lineup of events and a list of sustainability tips are available at this link.

Chloe Anderson/Lawrence Times Lawrencians showed up in droves to Saturday’s Earth Day Fair in South Park, where local organizations hosted educational activities fitting this year’s theme of “Invest in our Planet.”
Chloe Anderson/Lawrence Times 20 organizations set up tables with information on sustainability practices. Fair attendees did everything from trying their hand at sorting and recycling different materials to learning about the anatomy of birds and spiders.
Chloe Anderson/Lawrence Times The recently bloomed tulips waved gently in the breeze behind the bustling sidewalks.
Chloe Anderson/Lawrence Times Common Ground program manager Umut Bayramoglu helps Megan Whiddon, left, and Addie Fastenau choose from a variety of seed packets. Common Ground was established in 2012 with the goal of promoting access to locally grown food to people without land. By leasing underutilized properties throughout Lawrence to Douglas County residents, Common Ground gives everyone the ability to grow their own food.
Chloe Anderson/Lawrence Times Jayhawk Audubon Society, Douglas County’s birding and conservation group, displays recycled fishing lures on one of its tables.
Chloe Anderson/Lawrence Times Jayhawk Audubon Society sold colorful bird feeders at another table. The organization’s mission is to provide opportunities for greater understanding and appreciation of birds and other wildlife, to encourage sustainable practices, and to advocate for actions and policies that result in protection and preservation of intact ecosystems.
Chloe Anderson/Lawrence Times Biologist Hank Guarisco, left, and aspiring ecologist April Haight swap off tarantula duty at the Lawrence Ecology Teams United in Sustainability (LETUS) table. LETUS is an interfaith network of advocates pushing for environmental sustainability throughout Douglas County.
Chloe Anderson/Lawrence Times Unlike many of the table’s visitors, Haight wasn’t afraid of the furry arachnid on display.
Chloe Anderson/Lawrence Times Dylan Vogt experiments with a bird beak adaptation activity at the KU Natural History Museum’s table.
Chloe Anderson/Lawrence Times Elizabeth Byleen and Mike Higley check out the Lawrence Public Library’s book bike and seeds giveaway.
Chloe Anderson/Lawrence Times Cherrie Preut, education coordinator at Watkins Museum, helps Luke Woody make a seed ball with clay, dirt and magnolia seeds. After Woody plants the ball in his backyard, the clay will erode and the seeds will sprout into flowers.
Chloe Anderson/Lawrence Times Rachel Pierson laughs as she hands her daughter Leah a napkin. The Sustainability Action Network whipped up countless yummy, albeit messy, s’mores in their solar-powered oven.
Chloe Anderson/Lawrence Times Warren Couvillon, left, and Amber Hansford add to the large collaborative prairie drawing at the Environs KU table. The student-led Environs organization works within the Lawrence community to promote environmental practices by hosting outdoor events like camping nights, hikes and bird watching.
Chloe Anderson/Lawrence Times Nicholas Ward, right, talks to Mary Hodges about Tenants to Homeowners, a local nonprofit that helps residents find affordable housing and become homeowners.
Chloe Anderson/Lawrence Times 9-year-old Lena Saltmarsh converts an old milk carton into a bright yellow birdhouse at Jayhawk Audubon Society’s table.
Chloe Anderson/Lawrence Times Dawn Hawkins, left, and Elijah Chase sort through a box of discarded materials to find recyclable items.
Chloe Anderson/Lawrence Times Runita Phillips writes her guess as to how many tabs are in the jar. The winner takes home a $20 Dillons gift card, courtesy of Cans for the Community.

Note: The organizations named in two cutlines in this post have been corrected.

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Chloe Anderson (she/her) contributed to The Lawrence Times from August 2022 through May 2023. She is also published in Climbing magazine, Kansas Reflector and Sharp End Publishing. As a recent graduate of the University of Kansas, Chloe plans to continue her career in photography, rock climbing and writing somewhere out West.

You can view her portfolio, articles and commissioned work here. Check out more of her work for the Times here.

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