Earth Day takes place across Arkansas

Nancy Stephan
Staff Writer   

   Created to honor the wonders of life on our planet, the Earth Day celebration takes place April 22-23 at various State Parks across the state of Arkansas.

   For over 30 years on April 22, millions of people unite to heed this urgent call to action and celebrate the environment. Earth Day, initiated by Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, was first presented in order to “forcibly thrust the issue of environmental quality and resource conservation into the political dialogue of the nation.” Nelson’s accomplishments in the environment arena eventually led to legislation, including the Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and fuel efficiency standards for automobiles.

   Julie Sparks, who started college as a landscape architect major at the University of California-Davis, currently works as an assistant professor of English at the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

   “Many in Arkansas are uneasy with the title 'environmentalist' because they associate it with the sort of 'tree-huggers' who threaten forestry jobs in their efforts to save, say the spotted owl," Sparks said. "But I believe that even if they shun the title 'environmentalist,' many students at UAM care about protecting the planet and the treasures of the Natural State. So this seems like a perfect area for Earth Day celebrations to flourish. These festivals offer fun things to do and opportunities to find out more about how we can help.” 

   Some of the festivities taking place in and around the area include the Cane Creek State Park Earth Day Celebration. At the event one can find out about the history of Earth Day, play games, meet animals and learn how to care for the planet. This event offers something for the whole family. 

   Lake Charles State Park celebrates the planet by providing demonstrations, educational booths and many other activities that will be going on during the day.  The Little Rock Zoo will present magic demonstrations that you can actually participate in, as well as additional entertainment which includes animal shows.

   Heifer International celebrates the earth year-round through its agro-ecology initiatives. Since 1944, Heifer has shown a long-term commitment to the environment through working with subsistence farmers to improve agricultural practices that protect and enhance natural resources. Classes, hands on activities and fun with the Heifer Ranch animals can all be experienced at Heifer Ranch in Perryville, Ark., April 23 from 9 a.m. to 3p.m. There is even an environmental writing class for kids!

   Organizations from all across Arkansas will be available to answer questions and distribute information. There is something for everyone!

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