Macomb supports Earth

Tabi Jozwick

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In honor of Earth Day, several local environmental groups came to Earthfest to bring awareness to the environmental issues that impact the Earth at Chandler Park on Saturday.

Hosted by the Horn Environmental Learning Project, Macomb community members were invited to an afternoon of appreciation for the Earth including performances, yoga and tai chi sessions and presentations from local groups.

Two local environmental groups, Environmentally Concerned Citizens (ECC) and LaMoine River Ecosystem Partnership, educated the public on the dangers of dumping waste in the street drains.

“People don’t realize that whatever they pour down the street will go into the Kiljordan,” said Sharon Wood, ECC member.

What is poured into our water affects the ecosystems within it, as demonstrated by Ashley Stanley and Emily Szott of the American Fisheries Society, who brought a largemouth bass, redear sunfish, northern water snake and several turtle species to Earthfest.

“I think about the snapping turtle, a lot of people are afraid of them and think that they’re bad, but really, they are good for any eco-system,” Stanley said. “They usually eat rotting fish out of the bottom on the lake, eat vegetation and keeping the lake clean for you.”

In addition to the snapping turtle, the northern water snake also keeps the ecosystems of Illinois waterways healthy.

“I don’t know if you know about the invasive Asian carp, but the northern water snake does eat those,” Stanley said. “They are really cool, they swim around and eat fish.”

Friends of Argyle Lake State Park came to Earthfest in hopes that people would come and enjoy the beauty of Argyle Lake.

“Maybe you like the water, maybe you like to fish, maybe you like to camp,” said Deb Baker, president Friends of Argyle Lake State Park. “Take a hike, just get outside, it’s just a beautiful atmosphere. There’s a lot of birds and wildlife, just all kinds of neat things out there.”

The Macomb Food Co-op also came to Earth Fest to encourage people to help protect the environment by eating more organic foods, demonstrating how their products are eco-friendly.

“For one thing, our farmers don’t use chemicals on the ground, so that everything is grown organically” said Gloria Barr, Macomb Food Co-op member. “Our meat that we have has no antibiotics, no chemicals, so that in itself is good for the Earth.”

The Macomb Food Co-op brought their outdoor market allowing visitors to view their selection of environmentally friendly produce.

“We are selling our local produce and our producers are there,” Barr said. “We have a petting zoo for the kids there and just selling our products outside, and you could go inside the store and shop.”

The Humane Society of McDonough County (HSMC) came to Earthfest in hopes to give two dogs their new forever homes.

“The first one we have, Socks, is an older Boston Terrier who has been at the shelter for quite a while because she was tied up in a court case,” said Bonnie Skripps, president of HSMC. “She’s very friendly, she is young in spirit, she is just a sweetheart. She would be a great companion for either a family or for an individual, maybe an older person who may want some canine companionship. She likes to go out on walks, she is self-sufficient, she has really good house manners and she’s just a really happy girl.”

In addition to Socks, the HSMC hoped to give another dog a forever home.

“The other one’s name is Tony and he’s a terrier,” Skripps said. “I don’t think that he’s two years of age, he’s a younger boy. He will be a great family pet or an individual’s companion, very friendly, very affectionate, likes to play with other dogs, so I think that either of them will be fine with cats and just a happy boy.”

Other activities at Earth Fest included art, dance and exercise demonstrations, live music, and activities for the kids and live music.

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