St. Louis Earth Day Festival 2015

This sunday, April 26th, the Muny Grounds in Forest Park held the 26th annual Earth Day Festival. The festival is always free to the public, and lasts all day. Attending it is a learning opportunity as well as a celebration, the theme being, “Earth Day Every Day…for Everyone!” Executive Director Cassandra P. Hage says, “Attendance at the Earth Day Festival fluctuates from year to year, with the weather being a big contributing factor. Currently, we anticipate 30-40,000 attendees. Our Earth Day Festival has been recognized by Earth Day Network as one of the top three largest Earth Day celebrations in the country.”

The festival activities this year included yoga, mural painting on a metro bus, a pet adoption, rock climbing wall, and three stages of local talent. Sustainable dining was also available in the Cafe. Hage says, “We have 250 businesses, non-profit organizations, schools, farmers, and artists participating in this event – which is a testament to the importance of sustainability in our community. Beyond size, I think it is important that people recognize this as “the” place to go to learn about environmental issues and organizations.”

Information and resources available were almost overwhelming. Every volunteer at every booth, center, or even food truck happily answer questions and provide a lot of insight on what they’re representing and what you would like to see or learn. All who attend are guaranteed to leave educated, interested, and maybe even shocked.

Many aspects of the festival catered toward youth, because they are the foundation for the future. Hage says, “The best way to secure a promising future for yourself is to be an active participant through your decision making. There are so many things individuals can do to positively contribute to their community and the broader community of living things – you don’t have to do them all! Do what fits for you.” It is important for us as high schoolers to make good decisions and educate ourselves, and for parents out there to be an example for their children because we have a big future ahead of us.

Although this year’s festival is over, there are still ways for everyone to help out, such as the hundreds of other non-profits in St. Louis working on social and environmental causes, and Recycling On the Go at other events. Hage says, “We are also looking for people to help us grow our social media reach and to create a documentary on Earth Day in St. Louis.” More details about the organization and all of their events are available at http://www.stlouisearthday.org.

Ices Plain & Fancy serves up vegan nitro ice cream. The treats are frozen with liquid air. They reined as the most popular food booth at the event.
Ices Plain & Fancy serves up vegan nitro ice cream. The treats are frozen with liquid air. They reined as the most popular food booth at the event.

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The Montessori Schools of St. Louis display glass classrooms for kids to take part in. "Montessori extends beyond the academic and into the profound process of human construction. It is a comprehensive method that allows the child to construct  an identity and discover a unique and valued self."
The Montessori Schools of St. Louis display glass classrooms for kids to take part in. “Montessori extends beyond the academic and into the profound process of human construction. It is a comprehensive method that allows the child to construct an identity and discover a unique and valued self.”

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A pet adoption is held in the center of the event. Various cats and dogs were looking for safe homes. No matter where you were at the festival, a dog was always in sight.
The Nature’s Variety Instinct Pet Adoption is held in the center of the event. Various cats and dogs were looking for safe homes. It benefitted four rescue organizations – Stray Rescue of St. Louis, Five Acres Animal Shelter, Tenth Life Cat Rescue, and Gateway Pet Guardians.
Guests enjoy relaxing and picnicking in the Peace Garden. The weather was flawless and the views were beautiful.
Guests enjoy relaxing and picnicking in the Peace Garden. The weather was flawless and the views were beautiful.
The Missouri American Water Association impresses onlookers with their talented raven. This particular bird took dollar bills, folded them, and put them into the donation box. Other birds could be seen at their bird show.
The Missouri American Water Association impresses onlookers with their talented raven. This particular bird took dollar bills, folded them, and put them into the donation box. Other birds could be seen at their bird show.
This bearded rickshaw driver tells me, "Yeah, you can take my picture! This is my pose." The drivers were courteous and offered attendees a ride to their car. A shuttle ride was also available to and from the St. Louis Community College.
This bearded rickshaw driver tells me, “Yeah, you can take my picture! This is my pose.” The drivers were courteous and offered attendees a ride to their car. A shuttle ride was also available to and from the St. Louis Community College.
Upper Limits provides a free rock climbing wall for all attendees to try. Kids enjoyed the unique experience. The gym has 3 locations: West County, Bloomington, and Downtown.
Upper Limits provides a free rock climbing wall for all attendees to try. Kids enjoyed the unique experience. The gym has 3 locations: West County, Bloomington, and Downtown.
Vegan and sustainable food options are served exclusively on recyclable and compostable servicewear. Seedz Cafe quickly ran out of their popular Raw Spicy Peanut Bowl.
Vegan and sustainable food options are served exclusively on recyclable and compostable servicewear. Seedz Cafe quickly ran out of their popular Raw Spicy Peanut Bowl.
A cutout sculpture welcomes attendees into the festival. The art is hand painted and the people are life size.
A cutout sculpture welcomes attendees into the festival. The art is hand painted and the people are life size.
The festival rewards guests who completed the Earth Day Challenge. The challenge was to bring a reusable bag, a refillable water bottle, and to get to the festival using eco-friendly transportation, such as taking the metro or biking.
The festival rewards guests who completed the Earth Day Challenge. The challenge was to bring a reusable bag, a refillable water bottle, and to get to the festival using eco-friendly transportation, such as taking the metro or biking. Finishers recieved seedlings, a metro pass, or LED bulbs.

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Yoga Buzz leads yoga classes in the West Muny Pavillion.
Yoga Buzz leads yoga classes in the West Muny Pavillion.
Seven 'Waste Stations' are available to guests, separating their trash, recycling, and compost. They banned Styrofoam and plastic water bottles from the event because of their poor. environmental impacts.
Seven ‘Waste Stations’ are available to guests, separating their trash, recycling, and compost. They banned Styrofoam and plastic water bottles from the event because of their poor. environmental impacts.
RideFinders invites guests to doodle on their van. RideFinders encourages ridesharing, such as carpooling, vanpooling, biking, or public transit. All of these options save you money and save the Earth from pollution.
RideFinders invites guests to doodle on their van. RideFinders encourages ridesharing, such as carpooling, vanpooling, biking, or public transit. All of these options save you money and save the Earth from pollution.

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Grupo Axé Capoeira shows attendees their skills in the martial art. Capoeira is a combination of dance, fighting, acrobatics, and music.
Grupo Axé Capoeira shows attendees their skills in the martial art. Capoeira is a combination of dance, fighting, acrobatics, and music.
A 1975 Citicar is on display as one of the many fuel-efficient cars. The cars shown included fully electric and personal and commercial vehicles that run on alternative fuels.
A 1975 Citicar is on display as one of the many fuel-efficient cars. The cars shown included fully electric and personal and commercial vehicles that run on alternative fuels.
Gary Schoenberger with Perfect Strangers performs on the Cafe Stage. Workshops and live bands could be seen throughout the entire day on the four different stages.
Gary Schoenberger with Perfect Strangers performs on the Cafe Stage. Workshops and live bands could be seen throughout the entire day on the four different stages.
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