CRYSTAL LAKE – More than 300 people shook off winter and absorbed a breezy afternoon, as local musicians strummed classics like The Beatles’ “Here Comes The Sun” and vendors proudly displayed their environmental causes.
The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County and the county’s Conservation District hosted their Earth Day celebration Saturday at the Prairieview Education Center in Crystal Lake, with Mother Earth as the honorary guest.
Families from across the county absorbed the live entertainment against the backdrop of prairie fields during an annual party designed to turn people’s attention to the environment, as uncertainty across the globe increases about its sustainability.
“If you go out and experience nature and see the fish in the ponds and the beautiful spring flowers, maybe you’ll have the desire to protect them,” said Environmental Defenders President Nancy Schietzelt. “We need to do all we can do to protect our own environment. It’s all that we have to depend on for our lives.”
Instilling a desire in individuals to protect the environment is the main reason why both environmental groups host the Earth Day event, Schietzelt said. This year’s celebration featured 20 nonprofits and businesses that use environmentally friendly practices.
It also featured live music, puppet shows, a drum circle, a composting stand, guided nature hikes, and games and crafts for families and attendees.
Zak Dolezal, general manager for Duke’s Alehouse and Kitchen in Crystal Lake, was outside the Prairieview Center making sandwiches for the crowd. His restaurant was able to showcase the many organic ingredients they use.
“We are happy to help out any of these environmental groups,” Dolezal said. “It’s our honor to be here.”
The annual event is meant to show how organizations take steps to protect the environment, while providing family entertainment, said Deb Chapman, education services manager for the conservation district.
“It’s showing people how they can be better environmental citizens with practical solutions,” she said.