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NOTE: The birds & squirrel pictured at the top of this page and in the slideshow below are just a few that I have helped rehabilitate.
WARNING: Please do not touch a wild animal, especially the young ones. If you remove a baby from it's home, sometimes the mother is just off getting it's baby food and will be back.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day

In honor of Earth Day I wanted to tell you about an Earth Day event we had here in Grand Rapids, MI at the John Ball Zoo! April 17th was John Ball Zoo's annual Party for the Planet. There are similar celebrations that are either happening or have happened due to Earth Day falling on a weekday this year.

Party for the Planet at John Ball Zoo is organized as an event to educate families and the community about being green, get samples or see demonstrations of green products that are available in our area along with raffles being offered for items (A rain barrel was an item being raffled by Coca-Cola at the event). Last but not least, your family could see the animals at the zoo! If you are lucky enough to be able to go to one of these events locally, you should try to do so as there is a lot of great information that you can get from the many companies that have booths. There are also workshops that you can attend sprinkled throughout the day about the environment, saving energy and more.

At John Ball Zoo, they offer you entrance fee at a discounted rate for the event. Which gave you the ability to tour the entire zoo (Except for the exhibits that were closed due to cool weather). Near the parking lot at the zoo, there was recycling offered to the public done by the following:

1-800-GOT-JUNK? - They were taking electronics (no Air Conditioners or Humidifiers)
Goodwill Industries - Were taking small household electronics, good condition furniture, pots, pans, blankets, suitcases, purses, toys and bikes.  The donations also helped fund job training programs for individuals with barriers to employment in the greater Grand Rapids community.
Godwin Hardware & Plumbing - They were accepting low energy light bulbs for recycling.

Throughout the zoo were booths with information and product demonstrations or samples by the following groups or companies:
Animal Medical Center of Wyoming
City of Grand Rapids Environment Services
Grand Valley State University (GVSU) Sustainability Initiative
Natural Awakenings Magazine - Had issues of their magazine there along with a representative.
The Rogue River Project
Grand Rapids Public Schools Zoo School - Where you could build bat houses!
Horizen Hydroponics - Where you could learn a new way to grow!
Connecting Families with Nature - You could get a passport for your kids and go to each of the nature centers or parks in the area and get them marked after getting so many marked, there would be a special event your child can attend towards the end of the summer.
John Ball Zoo - Information and Education
Coca-Cola - See what happens to aluminum cans and get information on how to build your own rain barrel!  Check out this story about an initiative in our area that Coca-Cola and the West Michigan Environmental Action Council has partnered up on in this article from  Coca-Cola Plant's Castoffs Given New Life as Rain Barrels
Clean Water Action
Amway Grand Plaza Hotel
Unique Manufacturing of Michigan - Watch the artists demonstration using recycled materials (Interesting art too)!  If Anyone knows of a website by this artist please let me know as I found nothing.
Shakelee - There was a representative from this company handing out free samples of a green cleaning product.

Also for the kids to do and see:
They could meet the recycling robot at the Recycle Kent booth
Seedling give-aways (While they lasted) by: Association of Landscape Professionals, West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science and the Girl Scouts!
Make Headbands out of recycled materials at the Grand Rapids Children's Museum booth!
Dress up at the Sierra Club booth!
Build a molecule at the Grand Valley Metro Council! (They were made out of gumdrops or marshmallows and toothpicks)
Face Painting
Volunteers with strolling animals throughout the zoo - some touchable!  My boys were able to touch a wood turtle and see a bearded dragon and a snake (My youngest would not touch the snake)!

Kohl's and a local church (Genesis United Methodist Church) that provided many of the volunteers that day!
This photo was taken by me at John Ball Zoo at the Party for the Planet.  Notice the brave duck deciding to be on the edge of a wall inside the enclosure for the Grizzly Bear and the Brown Bear.  Don't worry though, there was still a large moat for the bear to cross so the duck was perfectly safe.  This bear had been looking at him intently and the duck is oblivious and I just snapped the pic from the angle I saw when I first walked up.  The fence is to keep us humans out.  Obviously the duck thought it didn't apply to him :)

This next photo is of me at the event carrying what my friend who took this picture called "A portable forest."  Yes ladies and gentlemen for 20 bucks you can get a backpack and fill it with seedlings to make your own air!  You can take it everywhere!  For only 2 dollars more you can get the plastic cup with dirt and sunflower seeds for your side pockets and I'll throw and additional one for the other side free:)  Just kidding of course, but it got alot of laughs!

The kids and I had a wonderful time learning, information gathering and also crafting some really fun things.  We walked the entire zoo, saw some friends and were able to chat.  I found some product samples to try out, it was well worth checking it out.   If you would like to find Earth Day events that you and your family can attend, go to the Earth Day Network and enter in your zip code and state in order to find events near you!

My sister JRouse also wanted to add a fun outdoor activity that you could do with your children (if you have them) and celebrate earth day with.  Please see the link at the website "Daily Activities for Kids" for an Earth Day Nature Hunt!

JRouse is currently caring for a baby grey squirrel whose eyes haven't opened yet, so she wanted to make sure our readers had something fun to do even though she hasn't the ability to post at this time due to how much time it takes to care for an animal.  Hopefully we'll have some pictures from her for you soon!

We at GreenSpot-On would like to wish you a Happy Earth Day!  Get outside and enjoy the day!

Khrys @ GreenSpot-On