This one is going to be big.
Earth Day is coming to McHenry County and the McHenry County Conservation District and The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County are putting on a party to celebrate.
There will be something for everyone: food trucks, musical and open mic performances, guided hikes and recycling.
This is an opportunity for people to learn how to live more sustainably and take care of the environment close to home, said Deb Chapman, education services manager at the McHenry County Conservation District. It also is a way to help people learn more about the two organizations, she said.
“This is the county’s big Earth Day celebration,” said Cynthia Kanner, executive director of The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County. “We partner with the McHenry County Conservation District to bring this special annual event that we bring to the whole county, and we would like to see hundreds and hundreds of people at it.”
Chapman said there are a number of new activities for people to try this year along with old favorites.
“We are doing something with L.L. Bean this year. They have been a good friend of the district’s, donating auction items. This year, they want to be more involved and put on some environmental-related activities,” Chapman said.
Other new activities include an open mic where people can perform music and poetry as well as bilingual guided hikes and bilingual support to help people sign up for programs, Chapman said.
“Our service activity this year is spreading prairie plant seeds,” Chapman said. “People who participate are helping restore the prairie.”
Some fan favorites from the past will return, including the Toasty Cheese and AJz Kettlecorn food trucks, live music by Joe Reilly and informational tables that have information about living in a more sustainable way.
Kanner said another goal of Earth Day Celebration is to give people ideas on how to cut down on single-use plastic items such as shopping bags and water bottles.
“We are doing a BYOBag table, where people can make shopping bags out of old T-shirts,” she said. “Parents love this project because their kids get to learn about something you can use besides plastic.”
“Visitors will also be able to sign The Last Plastic Straw pledge,” Kanner said. “This is a pledge that has people committing to not using plastic straws at restaurants. We’re picking on straws because of the single-use plastic problem. This is a logical follow up to the plastic grocery bags and plastic water bottles. This is a big one.”
According to the Plastic Pollution Coalition, more than 500,000,000 plastic straws are used each day in the United States.
Recycle Across America, a nonprofit organization concerned with recycling, estimates 2.5 million plastic bottles are used every hour in the United States and more than 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean every year.
If you plan to go, the celebration takes place, rain or shine, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 21 at the Prairieview Education Center at 2112 Behan Road in Crystal Lake. There is no entry or parking fee. Attendees should dress for the weather.