Earth Day is celebrated every year throughout the world. This year, one of the bigger local celebrations will be held at Graceada Park in Modesto, CA.      

Earth Day in the Park

Earth Day in the Park has been hosted by the city of Modesto for the last 28 years, demonstrating an active role in the support of protecting the environment and its resources. It has been a growing event for many years and now has hundreds of vendors who join the celebration.

The focus on environmental concerns could be seen everywhere last year on the day’s occasion with offerings of farm-to-table, chemical free foods, crafts such as sapling transplanting and natural clothing coloring, as well as other activities for children. 

“I love Earth Day!” Veronica Miller, an enthusiastic seven-year-old, said. “The painting is my favorite part.” When asked why she thought the Earth was important she replied, “Because it has trees, and water, and flowers and it’s where we live.” 

When asked why he and his family came to Earth Day in the Park, her father, David Miller, responded, “We’ve come to Earth Day here since before the kids were born and we’re glad to see how it’s grown. When my wife and I first started dating we thought it was great, but now that we have kids we really started to recognize how important these issues will be for them in their lives.” 

Every year there are a variety of booths in the area speaking on these issues from various organizations as well as a healthy representation by the city of Modesto itself in the form of mounted police units and local fire departments. 

Also participating last year were various businesses of all kinds. Small businesses were well represented too, such as candle makers, apiarists selling honey and others selling homemade condiments. 

Larger local businesses have been yearly staples as well, such as Modesto Junk, a company known in the area as a place to recycle glass, plastic and aluminum bottles and cans, as well as other materials. The Community Hospice Hope Chest Thrift Stores, where they sell donated items like children’s toys, books, clothing and furniture, was also a staple of the event. 

As environmental concerns throughout the world continue to grow in immediacy, Earth Day has become not only a day to celebrate the environment, but also to educate on the importance of the environment in our lives.

What We Can Do

Adam Baker, a resident of Mariposa County who lives nearby a current crisis in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, was visiting family in the area and decided to join in the festivities when he heard about Earth Day in the Park. “I’m glad this event is putting a local emphasis on the environment. The forest has been devastated in my area from issues we did not anticipate from the longer, warmer years we’ve been having. I’ve been living in the foothills since I was a young boy, and in my lifetime, we’ve lost more than half of the trees out there,” Baker said.

While Earth Day in the Park is a celebration of the environment hosting watercolor and hula hoop contests with even a group yoga session, Mr. Baker’s troubles touched on the true reason interest in this event has grown over the years.

Our Sierra Nevada forests are still considered in crisis today. While conditions have improved from the recent long drought and the rise in bark beetle populations, the forest is still in danger. Some areas actually might be recovering, but assuming we have seen the worst of both the bark beetle infestation and the drought, the forest will still take a generation to even get close to the levels it was before as over 100 million trees were wiped out.

To get more involved, local institutions have many available options such as our own Stan State. Through investments in the future such as these, our area can greatly benefit in everything from agriculture to zoological issues. Big things count as much as the small ones on this issue and events such as Earth Day all help to raise awareness, and secure a brighter future. 

Earth Day is officially Apr. 20 and is celebrated yearly around the area and world-wide. 

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