Photos and story by Andrew Nation / Contributing Writer
Earth Day — April 22 — is famous for making people aware of the conditions of the planet we live on in an attempt to make a change. Saturday, the Smyrna Outdoor Adventure Center supported this cause by hosting their first Earth Day Celebration, a free event open to everyone who was willing to learn how to better protect the environment.
“Celebrating this event brings awareness here in Smyrna to the big principles: reduce, reuse and recycle,” said Courtney Morgan, the manager of the SOAC.
And reducing, reusing and recycling proved to be the focus of the celebration, as the SOAC provided recycling buckets all throughout the main activity room so that attendees could recycle plastics and papers themselves.
“The International Earth Day Committee have designated 2018 as a plastic awareness year,” Morgan said. “Plastic has become so prevalent in our lives that we are using it constantly. Sometimes you have to take a step like having a refillable water bottle. We should always try to pick up our Earth and keep it nice and clean.”
Of course, fun activities were planned to keep both adults and children entertained: Attendees could sign up for face painting, rock wall climbing, an educational scavenger hunt and even see a live animal show.
The scavenger hunt, composed of seven informational sheets, taught the hunters how they can get involved in Earth Day initiatives, ways to take care of the planet and the history of Earth Day. The live animal show, on the other hand, informed attendees of the different types of reptiles, insects and arachnids, some of which even live in Tennessee. This activity was hosted by Middle Tennessee State University student Miranda Pewitt.
“A lot of kids come in here having never seeing anything like this before,” Pewitt said. “I’ll pick up a corn snake that is native to Tennessee and they say, ‘oh my gosh you’re holding a cobra’ and so they watch Animal Planet and that’s the only exposure they get to nature at all. They have no idea that a lot of this stuff is out in their backyard.”
Pewitt is an animal science major with a minor in leadership studies. She said that she has been working with the SOAC for around two years, where she has held various animal show, all because she wants to encourage kids to learn about the nature that is around them.
“I hope that the kids are able to take away the thought of what can I do to help the future of the planet, but to also have fun,” Morgan said.
Earth day is Sunday, April 22, but you can celebrate our planet year-round just by making it a habit to reduce, reuse and recycle. For more information on the SOAC, click here.
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