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Imagine an entire town coming together once a year to celebrate the Earth, learn from each other and make new friends. Thanks to our intrepid Earth Day Committee volunteers, that’s what we’ve been doing here in Natick for the past six years. On our unique Natick Common, we cobble together an amazing Earth Day Festival that celebrates the formidable strengths of our community and connects them to the Earth. Now in our seventh year, we strongly embrace the growing ethnic, religious, and political – philosophical diversity of the Town. We promote the resurgence of our downtown district, an impressive tapestry of art studios, cafes, eateries, and shops. During the first two weeks of April stroll the downtown district and take in the Kid Art Walk that champions the artwork of second grade students in storefront windows. Their drawings are magical and inspirational.
Our Theme this year: Keep Natick Beautiful and Sustainable. You’ll be encouraged to sign up for our “local army of volunteers” who are cleaning up the entire town: roadways, parking lots, woodlands, and waterways. Prior to the Earth Day Festival we’re conducting Natick Green-up Week (April 18 – 21). Come help us “green-up” some beautiful spaces which are often abused (Dug and Fisk Ponds, and the Pegan Cove Park area). Protect the commons; get people “fired up” about our local environment.
We range far and wide and bring in many vendors from neighboring towns: beekeepers, bagel and salsa makers, gardeners,
farmers, grassroots organizations, solar companies, artisans, singers and choirs, bands, and more. We feature Casey’s Diner’s iconic hot dogs (“All Arounds”), earth-friendly water stations, delicious soup from Natick Zoup! Along Common Street, our DPW invites young people to climb around on, inspect, toot horns of its Big Trucks: Vactor (catch basin cleaners), Street Sweepers, Recycling, and Brush Hog machines. Explore environmental problems that threaten the entire world: climate change, toxins in our air and water, storm water runoff, disposable plastic, invasive species. Meet the people who are on the front lines helping Natick to improve its trails, parklands, woodlands, and traffic problems. View the many fascinating programs conducted by several of “Natick’s Environmental Jewels,” the Natick Community Organic Farm and their neighbors along the Charles River, The Massachusetts Horticultural Society, and Natick’s Broadmoor Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary.
Among the many initiatives that are coordinated by Natick’s Director of Sustainability, Jillian Wilson-Martin, investigate Natick’s New Pilot Curbside Composting Program, the Solar Panels atop the DPW Building, and Solar Canopies planned for parking areas at Natick schools and Community – Senior Center. Chat with Art Goodhind, Land Facilities and Natural Resources Director, about the Municipal Strategic Reforesting Project and the IPM (Integrated Pest Management) strategies used on our fields and parklands. Exchange ideas with the folks who are developing and tending to our spectacular Natick Trails, including the Cochituate Rail Trail to be completed in 2019. Explore the MassGreen Network, a statewide coalition to reduce and ban disposable plastics. Natick will join 42 other Massachusetts communities (including Framingham, Wellesley, Needham, Newton, and Brookline) that have banned single-use plastic carryout bags. Natick’s Plastic Bag Reduction Bylaw will go into effect August 2017.
In addition we’re blessed with terrific singers and performers: the Walnut Hill Singers, Sound and Spirit Chorus, the Natick HS Choral Ensemble, the Gina Praino Band, and Jo-Jo The Magician. We also have a number of activities for children, including and
Joanne Schmalenberger’s GravOxy rebounders (mini tramps) that kids love to bounce on.
New this year we’re conducting a contest for Middle and High School Students: The Most Informative and Engaging Display, Demonstration or Activity. We plan to recruit a dozen or more student projects that focus on renewable energy, water conservation, endangered species, pollution, climate change, sustainability, etc. which will be prominently displayed. Students will be called upon to explain and demonstrate their messages to the public. A panel of judges will evaluate the projects and prizes will be announced at the end of the Festival.
Get down to The Natick Common, Sunday, April 23, 11 am – 3 pm. You’ll have a wonderful time and learn so much about our great Town and the Earth. For more information: contact Pat Conaway, Coordinator of the Natick Earth Day Committee, 508-740-9949 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or check us out on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/973210126084534/
or the web: http://natickearthday.org/index.html and keepnatickbeautiful.org