By Chris McCarthy
Noccalula Falls Park will be greener than normal on April 21.
The Coosa Valley Sierra Club will host the 2012 Earth Day Celebration from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The free event is part of the nationwide 42nd Earth Day.
According to CVSC chairman Steve Garrison, the event most likely is the first public Earth Day celebration in the Gadsden area.
“The goals of the event basically are to provide environmental education and opportunities to enjoy nature,” said Garrison, a Glencoe resident. “Even though we knew it would be a monumental undertaking, we decided to put ourselves out there and do it.
What we’re trying to do here is get people more environmentally sensitive and become good stewards of the earth.”
The event is co-sponsored by the City of Gadsden, the Etowah Tourism Board and the Coosa River Keepers.
Additional supporters include Apple-a-Day Health World and Master Gardeners of North Alabama.
Also on hand will be a farmer’s market featuring local healthy produce. Local artist Craig Reynolds will display some of his work. His painting of Noccalula Falls is featured on the event’s official tee-short.
The event also includes environmental displays and activities, a variety of interactive educational opportunities for children and adults and local arts and crafts in a family-fun atmosphere.
Participants also will have an opportunity to support the environment, network with environmentalists and collect positive publicity for their organization.
Garrison expects between 40 to 50 vending and educational booths at the event.
The band Anhedonia, which describes itself on its facebook page as “Indie Alternative Rock with a Southern Blues twist, will provide musical entertainment.”
Garrison said the April 21 event was patterned in part after the annual Earth Day Celebration in Fairhope, which usually attracts over 10,000 attendees.
“We don’t expect to draw anywhere near that number, but we want to make it about bringing the community together to think about green topics like recycling and not littering,” he said.
Founded in 1892 by naturalist John Muir, the Sierra Club is the oldest and largest environmental organization in the world. Garrison and Peggy Griffin established the Coosa chapter in 2008.
Garrison is a co-founder of the Etowah Roadies, a group that promotes the bicycle as a fitness machine for travel. He also sits on the board of directors for the Coosa River Keepers.
The Coosa Valley Sierra Club meets every second Tuesday of the month at the Joe Ford Center on the campus of Gadsden State Community College. The club currently has approximately 200 members.
“We’re about environmental green concepts with our chapter,” said Garrison. “We have outings and speakers and we try to do cleanups during the year. Everyone welcome to join, and you don’t have to be a member to attend the open meetings. We’re always having a different speaker. We also have hiking outings and field trips on a regular basis, so the club is as much social as it is educational.”
For more information about the April 21 2012 Earth Day Celebration or to obtain an exhibit application, contact Garrison at 256-442-8799.