SEVILLE — Fly a kite. Hike a trail. Fish for trout. Meet a hawk.
These were just a few of the activities offered at Medina County Park’s 18th annual Earth Day Festival held on Saturday at Buffalo Creek Retreat in Seville.
Under clear skies and with temperatures hovering in the 60s, about 1,200 people attended the free event, which was coordinated by the Medina County Earth Day Committee.
“We have a little bit of everything at the festival,” said committee chairwoman Shelley Tender, who is Medina County Park’s Interpretive Services manager, “with lots of ideas on how to make small changes to live a little more earth friendly.”
Early-risers enjoyed a morning walk through the park. Others grabbed rod and reel to vie for prizes in the Family Fishing Derby, sponsored by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division and Central Basin Steelheaders.
Fishing Derby volunteer Jon Kopen said the lake had been stocked with trout and catfish, some tagged with a star on their tails. “If you catch a fish with a star, you win either a tackle box or fishing pole.”
Natalie Myers, 8, was one of the winners. “Did you know I won a fishing pole?” she said, “Winning this pole was my favorite part of the day. And I liked talking to the park ranger.”
The festival also featured an indoor eco-information fair.
“People can learn about beekeeping, soil and water conservation, creating animal habitats and more,” said Tender.
Peggy Garnes, president of the Medina County Beekeepers Association, distributed information at the beekeepers’ booth with the help of beekeeper/master gardener Mary Simonelli.
“We’re here to educate the public,” Garnes said, “Don’t use pesticides in your yard. Weeds are good; they help feed honeybees and other pollinators. Without them, one-third of our food would be gone.”
Lafayette Township’s Mary Sandman was on hand to teach the public about animal habitats. “My property was certified as a wildlife habitat and monarch (butterfly) waystation,” she said. Sandman also displayed professional photographs she had taken of the wildlife in her backyard.
The Medina Raptor Center brought several of their feathered friends to the event. The facility, funded solely by donations, rescues and rehabilitates birds of prey, treating over 400 birds a year.
“Our goal is to return them to the wild,” said the center’s Missy Jordan, “but the ones who are too injured to be released stay with us. They’re used for educational purposes like today’s event.”
According to Jordan, Phoenix, the red-tailed hawk perched on her arm, had flown trough a methane gas fire that scorched his feathers.
“He may not be able to return to the wild,” Jordan said, “we believe his feathers won’t grow back; the follicles may have been destroyed by the fire.”
Other earth-friendly activities included a rain barrel workshop, household document shredding by Gateway Records Management and kite flying with the Ohio Society of Kites of South Euclid.
“We’ve had a very good turnout today,” Tender said, “we’re very pleased. We hope people will mark their calendars for next year’s Earth Day Festival on April 18, 2015.”
Contract reporter Nancy Johnson at (330) 721-4065 or firstname.lastname@example.org.