Earth Day celebration planned for April 27

Apr. 18—Earth Day is just around the corner and the city of Washington has a special event scheduled to celebrate.

Washington's Earth Day celebration will be April 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Washington Conservation Club.

"We do this every year," said Washington Mayor David Rhoads. "We give away trees and other items. We normally have a special guest come in and talk about conservation — plants that maybe you shouldn't plant, that people should avoid because they are invasive."

The organizer for the Earth Day event is Angela Quast with the city's stormwater department. She says the event will include some interesting free items.

"We will be giving out common choke cherry, bald cypress, white pine and a swamp white oak. We will have 100 milkweed plants to give out, which are good for the monarch butterflies. They lay their eggs on it and then the caterpillars eat it down to the stalk and then it grows back and the cycle starts again. Etienne Farm Market donates those for us," said Quast. "We will be passing out bags that people can use when they take their dog for a walk to clean up the dog poop."

The event will also include some take back efforts that will help keep pollutants out of the environment.

"There will be an e-waste collection for small items that can be recycled that day," said Quast. "We will also have a drug take back location with a police officer at the door as you come in. That way they can drop unused medication off and not have to carry them around."

Another key event will be a walking tour that will help people identify invasive species that often choke out native plants. That tour will be conducted by Emily Finch from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources at 11 a.m.

"This is about making people aware. Reminding them that trees are good. Trees do a lot for our environment," said Quast. "We need to keep the water ways clean. That is what I am all about, dealing with storm water."

One of the efforts Quast says officials are pushing this year is an education effort concerning some of the dangers of common household chemicals.

"One of our displays this year will be to make people aware of the common household chemicals that can be hazardous," she said. "We are going to be showing people what they are using. Just because you bought it at a retail store doesn't mean it is safe. Some of those are known as ORMs which means if it is sold in a small quantity, you do not have to be told about the hazards, but if it is sold in a 55-gallon drum it is considered a hazardous chemical."

There will be food trucks set up for those wanting to make a day of it. They are Rockin' and Rollin' Dogs, Big Boys Burgers and Jose's Burritos.

Other vendors include Nature Photography by Steve Smith, Cecil's Handcrafted Wind Chimes, LaLa's, Green Fins, children's author and crafter Wini Frances, Stevens Goat Milk Soap, Ron's Candles, Master Gardeners, Daviess County Soil and Water, SWCD Invasive Species Specialist, Hoose Hill Farm and Barr-Reeve Ag Department.