Getting in Touch with Mother Nature

Earth Day may have been last week, but it did not stop many people from celebrating this past Sunday, May 1.

The Reformed Church of New Paltz joined with the New Paltz Climate Action Coalition for the ninth Annual Earth Day Fair outside of the church on Historical Huguenot Street.

“There is a religious and spiritual connection to the environment,” said Jim O’Dowd, one of the event founders. “This fair helps bring people together.”

The fair attracted a crowd, which included members of the church, residents of New Paltz and their children. The event brought SUNY New Paltz students and professors  as well.

Local musicians provided entertainment while visitors walked around to tables where they could purchase locally grown food, buy local merchandise and learn about many different environmental issues.

“Today at this earth fair there are all ages, from five to 85,” said Rosalyn Cherry, a board member of the Climate Action Coalition. “It is the responsibility of all of us to take care of the environment.”

Last year was the first time the Climate Action Coalition participated in this event. They said they enjoyed the interactions they had with people last year and decided to co-sponsor this year’s fair, said Ann Gunther, the chairperson of the Climate Action Coalition.

“Saving the environment is like a game,” said Gunther. “I love to have fun with it.”

The co-sponsors held a large demonstration with solar panel windmills and provided a “Footprint Quiz” for people to see how much of an energy footprint they had with ideas to save energy and money on the back of the sheet. After taking the quiz, participants could receive a plant.

The members of the Climate Action Coalition have done many studies and realized that people do not change because of facts and by people scaring them, rather they change by becoming more environmentally conscious and learning ways to save money. Members of the Climate Action Coalition participated in this fair to talk to people and educate them.

There were a wide variety of activities at the fair, like buying used toys and books, or recycling your bike by having someone fix it for you. People could sit in front of the entertainment or purchase local foods ranging from veggie burgers and butternut squash to vegan brownies and carrot cake.

There were over 20 organizations, businesses and people who participated this year.

“This event has evolved a lot over the years,” said  O’Dowd. “The hosts have learned from their past experiences and are happy to say that the event has gotten bigger each year.”