Children and adults will have the chance to learn about everything from recycling and energy efficient cars to bees, worms and sweetgum balls at the 13th annual Earth Day Celebration Saturday.
The event on the front lawn of the Armory on Front Street in Marietta is free and open to the public and will feature informational booths and hands-on activities to celebrate and promote conservation and preservation of the planet's resources.
"We're sharing the Earth with a lot of different organisms, so it behooves us to find out as much as we can about them," said Marilyn Ortt, a member of the committee that organizes the annual event.
One of the organisms in the spotlight this year will be bees, specifically some of the approximately 4,000 species that are native to the United States, said Kathy Lehman, another committee member.
"Since the honeybees, who are not native, are in trouble, we are putting out the information that we should be attracting more of the native bees to our gardens," she said.
A new display this year will be brought by Alliance-based Wind Turbines of Ohio, which installed the 25-foot-tall wind turbine on Marietta College's campus earlier this year.
If you go
What: Earth Day Celebration.
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Armory Square, Front Street, Marietta.
Cost: Free and open to the public.
Activities: Interactive displays, environmental exhibits, green technologies, informational booths by local colleges and environmental groups, recreational games for children and more.
Contests: Trash-to-Art contest (anything goes) and Sweetgum Tree Ball (create a decorative or practical way to use the multitude of sweetgum balls in the area). Contest entries should be brought to the event by 10 a.m. Prizes will be awarded.
"I think that we should be looking toward renewable energy in all forms, both on a national level and a local level," Ortt said.
Other activities are aimed at getting people to think about items they might see as trash in different ways.
For example, children can transfer plants from pots to two-liter soda bottles and take them home.
"At least these bottles will not, at this time, go into the landfill," Lehman said, noting children will be encouraged to recycle them when they're no longer used to hold plants. "It's just helping the kids notice what they put in the trash."
A couple of competitions challenge residents to convert trash into art and find creative or practical uses for the sweetgum balls that fall in a seemingly unlimited supply on local ground.
"It's just fun to see how creative people are with sweetgum balls," Ortt said. "I've seen little sculptures, I've seen decorations ... and wreaths."
Last year's Trash-to-Art entries included a lizard habitat crafted by a 4-year-old and a trivet made by an adult from wine bottle corks.
Ortt said people of all ages are encouraged to enter, noting there are awards for different age groups, including gift certificates and bluebird boxes.