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'Earth Day' comes to Matter Park

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A ROCKY ART FORM:John Rumple, Lead Water Operation Specialist at Marion Municipal Utilities, stacks rocks at an Earth Day event in Matter Park on Monday.
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EARTH DAY FUN: April Raver, president of the Mississinewa Audubon Club of Marion and Grant County helps Shadow Watson, right, with her handmade face mask at an Earth Day event in Matter Park on Monday.

By Clay Winowiecki - cwinowiecki@chronicle-tribune.com

Hundreds of people took part in Earth Day festivities at the City of Marion's sixth annual Earth Day event at Matter Park Monday, which included 25 eco-friendly vendors, food, green exhibits, a bouncy house and a rain barrel raffle. The event was co-sponsored by Marion Utilities. 

"(The event serves) to celebrate Earth Day and how we can take care of our Earth," said Julie Fauser, director of programs and events for the city's parks and recreation department.

According to Matter Park worker Taylere McCoy, who helped spearhead the event, raising awareness about climate change and forms of waste, such as plastic and food waste, is key.

"(It's) definitely important to raise awareness because (without it) people won't know what's going on, (therefore) they can't have an opinion and act on that knowledge," McCoy said. "(The event) also teaches people what they can do to help influence these issues and bring about change."

According to McCoy, people can make changes in their everyday lives which can make a real difference to the environment's health.

"Supporting renewable energy resources and reducing car and plane travel, if they can, through public transport, walking and biking," McCoy said. "(As well as) recycling as much as they can and reducing their use of single-use plastics."

Another big waste contributor is thrown away food, since food takes a lot of energy to produce, she added. 

"We've supported (Marion's) Earth Day event since it first started and recycling is the perfect fit for Earth Day," said Susan Eichhorn, assistant director of the East Central Indiana Solid Waste District. "They say that recycling is the easiest way to protect the earth. It's free to everyone who wants to use it. We can recycle more than 75 percent of what we currently throw away, so a little bit goes a long way."

During the event General Motors gave out free red maples and sugar maples and Marion Utilities raffled off rain barrels decorated by local artists. According to McCoy, rain barrels reduce reliance on water companies by providing free and clean rainwater that can be used for gardening, for example.

Kurtis Rumple, who brought his kids along to the event, came because he wanted to learn more about issues plaguing the environment and what role his family plays.

"It's vitally important with all of the talk of climate change these days," Rumple said. "Our kids are going to be the ones we're handing the world off to, so we want them to be in good hands. We want them to know how to take care of it."

The next upcoming event for Matter Park is Plant-A-Palooza on May 11, where attendees can purchase plants while supporting the Gardens of Matter Park.