MARQUETTE - Love for the environment is an intrinsic part of the Upper Peninsula's identity, and local organizations helped foster that same love in youngsters by hosting the Earth Day Fair and Art Contest at the MooseWood Nature Center in Marquette on Saturday.
"We're here because, so much of the community here in Marquette, we like to say that we're green, and we're recognized for being an Earth-friendly area," said Sara Pingel, the event's organizer and coordinator. "But ... the future of the community and moving forward is really in the hands of the kids we have.
"Today was focused around getting kids to come and think about things that maybe they're not thinking about in the classroom, and then ... to encourage families to want to be here as well, so. .. it's a good way for parents to ... learn about where they're already living, and have kids come and learn about what they can actually do, as kids and as they grow up."
Chip Neuman of the Northern Michigan University Wildlife Society helps Brownie Scout Deirdre Riesterer, 9, color a picture during the Earth Day Fair and Art Contest at the Moosewood Nature Center in Marquette on Saturday. (Journal photo by Zach Jay)
Abbie Hillier, a seventh-grader at North Star Academy, strums an instrument made in her Community Environmental Education class. Hillier's classmates were also at the Moosewood Nature Center, running a table called 'Junky Funky Time,' where they displayed, and played music with, other junk they'd turned into musical instruments. (Journal photo by Zach Jay)
Environmental organizations from Northern Michigan University and the community offered activities and games to be enjoyed by kids and their parents alike.
"We have about seven or eight local organizations and student organizations that are here to present on their special topic, and what they're doing to better the Earth," Pingel said. "Marquette Care is here, and they're talking about their movement of changing recycling here in Marquette and working on community composting; the Nature Conservancy is here talking about their project at Echo Lake; the Wildlife Society from NMU and the Rock and Mineral Club (are here) doing some activities with kids, teaching them about pelts and ... animals."
Zach Jay can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org