Affiliate of the Month: Earth Day Mansfield Brings Green Family-friendly Fun
Every April, the City of Mansfield plans a full slate of events to offer residents the opportunity to not only clean up around their homes and beautiful their community, but also to celebrate, protect and conserve our environment and natural resources.
These events include the city's bi-annual Chunk Your Junk & Shred Day, spring Creekside Cleanup & Cookout, monthly Hazardous Waste Collection & Mulch Madness, and then culminate in Earth Day Mansfield, a celebration about protecting and conserving our environment and natural resources.
Earth Day Mansfield, only three years old, is one of the main projects of our local Keep Mansfield Beautiful affiliate. Working in conjunction with the City of Mansfield Environmental Services and Water Utilities departments, KMB plans and hosts the festival that is filled with children's activities and educational opportunities for all. From day one, the purpose of the festival has been to help residents learn the importance of protecting the environment while having fun.
Each year the goal has been to increase the educational opportunities and expand the focus of learning practical ways to lead a greener lifestyle.
It its first year, the Earth Day event was called H2Grow and the day provided educational opportunities, vendors and a rain barrel auction to about 500 participants. The second year expanded those opportunities and saw about 700 participants come out to celebrate what was now called Earth Day Mansfield. Opportunities to learn about the City of Mansfield's Water Treatment Plant, Adopt-a-Street Program, recycling, water conservation and Smartscaping are just a few of the educational offerings, along with a petting zoo, fishing tournament and painted rain barrel auction thrown in to promote a festival feel.
This year's event expanded dramatically. Additional education opportunities were provided for residents to learn about watersheds, stormwater, water conservation and what residents can do personally to help protect the watershed.
The rain barrel auction was taken to the next level with the creation of an application process for artists to enter their sketches for possible selection by the Keep Mansfield Beautiful Commission. A total of 20 rain barrels were accepted for entry into the rain barrel artist competition and auction. The local Mansfield Art Association got in on the action, along with local schools, churches, businesses and artists. A local grant provided the opportunity for KMB to host a "Rain Barrel Auction Sneak Preview" where the public came out to meet the artists, preview the painted rain barrels and start the bidding process.
City staff educated the preview attendees about the need to reduce the use of disposable water bottles. The audience learned about plastic pollution in the oceans and was given reusable water bottles to help with the problem. Residents also received information about our Environmental Collection Center events and water conservation.
The biggest change to Earth Day Mansfield 2019 was a partnership between KMB and our local Farmer's Market. The Farmer's Market is located near our historic downtown area, but this year they agreed to temporarily move their operation to the site of Earth Day Mansfield to sell their farm fresh produce, local honey and other products. The addition of the Farmer's Market boosted our attendance to over 1200 residents. This adventure was highly successful and the Farmer's Market has agreed to join us again next year for Earth Day Mansfield 2020.
As we begin to plan Earth Day 2020, we look forward to discovering new ways to expand our outreach to the Mansfield community, with the goal of educating our residents about the importance of protecting our environment.KMB encourages other affiliates to think out of the box to find like-minded groups to invite as partners when you plan your future events.
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Blog post written by Rebecca Sales, Public Education Specialist - City of Mansfield and City liaison to Keep Mansfield Beautiful Commission