WEST GREENWICH - With the warm sun shining deep in the middle of the heavily forested town of West Greenwich, it was clear Sunday was a splendid day to celebrate the Earth.
weekend the West Greenwich Land Trust and Louttit Library held their third annual Earth Day celebration, featuring everything
from farm animals, to a rock wall to the many booths set up for viewing and learning.
For the past two years residents
braved rain and cold temperatures during the Earth Day celebrations but this year there was nothing but sunshine and blue
"Well, it's about time," said Land Trust member Diana Rotelli, in regards to Saturday's mild weather, as she
guided Ringo, a 10-year-old miniature horse, through a crowd of children. "We really deserve it."
Earth Day, which
celebrated its 37th annual campaign this year, involved 12,000 organizations in 174 countries across the globe, all with the
common goal of taking responsibility for a clean and healthy environment.
Rotelli, a first grade teacher at Wawaloam Elementary School, said this year West
Greenwich residents organized into neighborhood teams and helped clean their respective areas throughout the week
and went full-force with their efforts throughout the weekend.
"We covered a lot more territory that way," she said.
said she hoped neighborhood clean-ups become a habit for residents and not solely an activity that take place once a year.
all stewards of the Earth," she said. "We're also trying to do a lot more with eco-friendly industry instead of reverting
Adults weren't the only ones participating in the town's beautification Sunday.
the whole road and then we went in the woods and got all the cans out of it," said 14-year-old Isabella Vergun, as she stood
beside her cleaning buddies Jocelyn Hellested, 12, and Elizabeth Spink, 14. "It was a lot of hard work, but it was worth it."
of the day's main attractions featured Herman the hen and her keeper, 4-H Club member Justin Salisbury, 13, who spent most
of Sunday with Herman perched on his shoulder.
"Herman is really a girl," explained Salisbury. "When Herman came out of the incubator, my mom said, 'hi Herman,' and so the name
just kind of stuck."
Herman, who is almost one year old, was the lone survivor of all his egged brothers and sisters,
making her all the more special, Salisbury said.
does she love worms," he said as Herman attempted to take flight from his shoulder at the mere mention of the creepy crawlers.
"He'll eat the worms right out of my hand."
Also at the event was Heidi Wright, a 4-H Club leader and owner of Hidden
Meadows Farm on Breakheart Hill Road in West Greenwich. The 200-acre farm has been in her family for over 60 years and is home to many types
of wildlife including wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, song birds, birds of prey, foxes and coyotes.
"We're all about
the Earth," said Wright, as she manned her booth piled with fresh maple syrup and homemade goat's milk soap.
Willoughby and Safwa roamed around in the shade and munched
on grass as 1-and-a-half-year-old Brendan Pratt mustered up all his courage to reach out and touch the strange looking creatures.
having a great time today," said dad and West Greenwich resident Jim Pratt. "He's just having
Tim Leyden from Big John Leyden's Tree Farm was on hand to provide residents with a free Colorado Blue Spruce
tree sapling to plant in their own yards to help replenish the Earth's forests.
"We encourage everyone to plant a tree
on Earth Day," he said.
In the basement of the Louttit Library, Exeter-West Greenwich students were gathered to accept
awards for their Earth Day essays, posters and digital photography contest.
Land Trust member Cynthia Walsh and Library
Director Elsie Oltedale presented the winners with awards and certificates.
According to Walsh, the Land Trust received
230 posters from third, fourth and fifth graders at the elementary schools, along with 40 photographs. Within all the art
projects was the message that cleaning up the world is a long-term goal, not just something to think about once a year.
kids did a great job," said Walsh, "I think that it was a great lesson for them."
E-WG High School junior Kimberly Dufresne,
who won the award for best photo caption, had this to say about her photograph of Fry Pond: "Often, local wildlife is overlooked.
We do not appreciate the daily beauty around us as readily as a dramatic imagery from afar. Fry Pond is a peaceful, natural
location where wildlife is allowed to flourish. Its simple beauty is both profound and amazing."