Complete with blue skies, green leaves, sunshine, smiles and a life-sized friendly frog, Park Circle boasted all the essential elements of a happy childhood drawing at the Earth Day Festival. A true community festival, Charleston environmental groups showcased an astonishing variety of good stewardship fueled by ingenuity and a healthy dose of creativity.
Organized by Charleston County Environmental Management Department, festival-goers learned how to revolutionize their neighborhoods, from the beach to the daily commute to the backyard to the kitchen table. If you weren't able to make it out in person, view this slideshow for a glimpse of Charleston's green scene.
Groups included Lowcountry Community Gardens and Lowcountry Food Bank, which both educated visitors about community needs and how gardens and fresh produce can mean the difference between health and sickness for individuals and their neighborhoods.
In a 4'x4' raised bed, Jim Martin of Charleston Parks Conservancy accessibly demonstrated all the elements of a successful home vegetable garden complete with compost, mulch and companion planting. The South Carolina Native Plant Society's lush display of native plants inspired all to tread with care and search out native species in their yards and plant nurseries.
As the future stewards and inheritors of the Earth, children found plenty to explore at the festival. They could participate in cool science experiments led by Mad Science teachers, make castles from toilet paper rolls, igloos from plastic water jugs, and touch a live flounder, if they dared. At the Yo Art exhibit, they created masterpieces chosen from bins of recycled household objects. Innovations such as green roofs, electric cars and potable water systems dazzled budding scientists. Kids were also mightily impressed by Linky, the TriCountry Rural Bus System mascot, who posed for countless photo-ops.
The picture painted by Charleston's Earth Day Festival lives and breathes with bright possibility. It possesses all the elements of a hopeful and happy future, lived peacefully in community gardens, rather than a hypothetical Eden. In this future, there is plenty of clean air and water, good food and lively dialogue. Sustainability becomes sustenance. And after the work is done, everyone gathers around a common table where even the birds, bees, turtles, and native trees are welcome.