Locals love their habitat at Earth Day festivals and cleanups

Once a year, the calendar reminds humans to show the planet some love. Earth Day 2018 is officially scheduled for Sunday, April 22, and all weekend long, local groups are hosting events to celebrate Earth Day, including three road cleanups, two festivals and a paper-shredding event. Each is free to attend.

Dagsboro festival

Jayne’s Reliable is a Dagsboro shop specializing in reused and reclaimed home décor. With so many people interested in repurposed furniture, the shopkeepers decided to expand their horizons with the Peace, Love & Earth Festival on April 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Our goal is to have green-minded and/or community-building groups be a part of this mini-festival,” said organizer Karen Jayne.

They invited earth-friendly organizations Delaware Center for Inland Bays (CIB) and the Delaware Botanic Gardens, and a certified arborist from Coastal Plant Care.

People can go shopping among the vendors: native plants by Inland Bays Garden Center; organic dog treats by Yuppy Puppy; hydroponic produce by Bearhole Farms; local produce by Parsons Farms Produce; plants in their choice of reclaimed planting vessels by the Bleached Butterfly; and architectural salvage pieces, furniture and décor by Brian Hess.

A-LERT Motivations will show green products, recycled bags and ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. Avi Mae’s Farm will sell honey, handmade soaps and sugar scrubs, and discuss the current status of honey-bee health. Local author Sandie Gerken will have a book-signing.

Live music will be courtesy of the band East of the Mason Dixon Line, performing folk-rock and Americana.

People can also bring money for Blue Scoop ice cream and Good Earth Market sandwiches.

The Jaynes are a husband-wife team who merge in-house creativity with customers’ ideas to create reclaimed home décor.

“It’s almost like we don’t throw anything away,” said David Jayne.

 “Give everything a second chance,” said Karen Jayne. “It’s sort of Earth Day every day at Jayne’s Reliable.”

“And it’s something that both of us are so passionate about,” her husband added.

Jayne’s Reliable is located at 33034 Main Street, Dagsboro.

Nature Center festival

Why should our planet only get one day of attention? The seventh annual “Every Day is Earth Day” Celebration returns to the Bethany Beach Nature Center on April 21 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Families can meet animals, build crafts and enjoy lively entertainment, including from the Delaware Children’s Museum from Wilmington; Raptor’s Eye, a rehabilitator who brings hawks and owls into the crowd; singalongs with Crabmeat Thompson; and Eric Energy’s crowd-pleasing science show at 11 a.m.

Other local environmental-based companies will bring displays, too.

To celebrate Arbor Day a week early, on Earth Day, kids can help shovel soil for the ceremonial tree planting around 11:30 a.m. While supplies last, attendees can also take home free seedlings for a redbud tree, which grows quickly and sprouts pink and purple buds.

Inside the Nature Center itself — a relocated and repurposed 1903 cottage — people can do crafts and view nature displays and aquariums. The playground, garden and nature walk also tempt people outdoors.

“Kids are welcome to take binoculars, bug boxes [and] a scavenger-hunt clipboard. They can make a scavenger-hunt bag and a butterfly net, and have a nature adventure on the Baldwin Trail,” said Nancy Lucy, director.

“We’re trying to educate our visitors in an entertaining way how to get the most out of observing nature,” Lucy said. “When you come to the Nature Center, you’re up close and personal,” with the science experiments and the birds.

A big-screen monitor will broadcast live footage from the Chesapeake Bay Osprey Cam.

“People just love that,” Lucy said. “That really gives them an opportunity to ask a lot of questions, because you can really get a birds-eye view of the osprey nest. We’re in osprey season now. They have migrated back from Central and South America, which is over 2,200 miles they travel back to their same nests.”

The Nature Center itself boasts three active nests, which hatched nine ospreys last summer, with the young birds spending the next four or five years in South America before coming right back to coastal Delaware to build their own nests.

Most families do everything at the event in 45 to 75 minutes, Lucy said. People can also bring a picnic lunch. The celebration will be held rain or shine.

Parking is limited onsite, but attendees are allowed to park next door at Grotto Pizza. Better yet, “Honor Mother Earth, and ride your bike or walk,” Lucy said.

For more information, contact Bethany Beach Nature Center at (302) 537-7680 or 807 Garfield Parkway, Bethany Beach.

Fenwick road cleanup

Although organized by the municipality, Fenwick Island’s 3rd Annual Earth Day Cleanup will also include the unincorporated parts of Fenwick, all the way to the Maryland border.

Volunteers will meet April 21 at 9 a.m. at Fenwick Island Town Hall to enjoy coffee and refreshments, learn about the local ecosystem from environmental experts and then grab trash bags for the road cleanup.

All clean-up supplies will be provided, along with giveaways and door prizes for participants, donated by area businesses. People should dress for the weather.

“It’s important to keep our beautiful little Fenwick Island community in pristine condition. It takes everybody’s efforts to do so,” said organizer Colleen Wilson of the Fenwick Island Environmental Committee.

She said she also thinks the cleanup will inspire future cleanliness.

“If people are walking up and down Bunting Avenue, if they see trash, they’ll consider picking it up. Because trash breeds trash,” Wilson said.

“It’s a lot of cigarette butts, bottles, cans that have gotten discarded around the year. And with the [weather] this year, there’s just a lot of trash that’s been blowing around construction sites,” Wilson said.

This year, there’s a major national emphasis on ending plastic pollution, as it injures marine life, litters the landscape, clogs landfills and can disrupt human hormones, according to the Earth Day Network.

That’s why volunteers should bring a reusable water bottle to fill at Town Hall this year. Organizers will not be distributing disposable water bottles.

“We’ll have our water cooler available at Town Hall, so if people bring their own bottle, they can fill their own,” Wilson said.

That’s especially critical as Sussex Countians try to be good neighbors to the Atlantic Ocean.

Fenwick Island Town Hall is located at 800 Coastal Highway, Fenwick Island. Details of the cleanup are posted at www.facebook.com/TownofFenwickIsland and www.fenwickisland.delaware.gov.

Coastal Sussex road cleanup

It’s time for spring cleaning in all the Quiet Resorts.

People can celebrate Earth Day by “adopting” a section of roadway in the inaugural “Keep the Quiet Resorts Beautiful” Community Clean-up on April 21.

They will collect roadside trash and recycling debris at different sites around the area. The event offers an opportunity for families, businesses, non-profits and community groups to work together, or people can also register as individuals and be assigned a group, said event organizers at Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce.

Groups of five or more will be assigned a quarter-mile stretch of road, or they can request up to a mile.

Not only will the effort help the environment, but it’ll also prepare Sussex County for the Chamber’s annual Ocean to Bay Bike Tour, being held the following weekend.

“We will be working on many of the back roads, like Burton’s Farm, Burbage, Old Mill, etcetera — roads that are traveled by the cyclists and have been identified as areas of concern for community members as well,” said Lauren Weaver, Chamber executive director, who said she always wanted to spruce up the roadways before putting guest cyclists on them.

“The new Keep Delaware Beautiful initiative and some amazing community partners have made this pipe-dream a reality.

Local legislators have helped secure funding through that initiative, and the Delaware Department of Corrections will also send inmates to help along Route 1.

“Our state and local representatives are providing an opportunity for our area to come together to do something positive and unifying, to take pride in what is ours as a community, do something good for the planet and meet our neighbors,” Weaver said.

Participants will receive their assignments via email. They can pick up supplies as early as 8 a.m. and must finish their cleanup on their assigned section of road by 3 p.m.

Trash bags, reflective vests, pick-up claws, pokers and other cleaning materials will be provided by partners at Republic Waste and the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT). Then, volunteers will drop the trash and recycling bags at designated pickup locations. (Motorists should be mindful of volunteers working on the roadway and shoulders this weekend.)

For more information and registration, find the event listing at http://business.bethany-fenwick.org/events, or call Susie or Lauren at (302) 539-2100. Groups that want to work in a specific area should write that in the registration comments.

Paper shredding

Declutter the house and add some zen to life by tossing out excess paper.

Regular paper can always be thrown in home recycling bins. But First Shore Federal bank will host a free shredding event on Earth Day for confidential documents. People can safely and securely have their important documents shredded on-site on April 21, from 9 a.m. to noon.

The bank is located at 35742 Atlantic Avenue, Millville. For more information, call the branch at (302) 537-5474.

Route 54 cleanup

The Sussex County Democratic Committee is inviting people to spare an hour for a good cause. The Route 54 Earth Day Cleanup will be Sunday, April 22, from noon to 1:30 p.m., as the 38th Representative District’s Environmental Committee will host a two-mile cleanup on Route 54 (Lighthouse Road).

“The Route 54 corridor is an environmentally-sensitive area sandwiched between Dirickson Creek on the north and Assawoman Bay on the south. Trash from our main road eventually filters into both waterways,” organizers said.

The clean-up will continue eastbound on the road shoulder, starting at the B.P. gas station at Old Mill Bridge Road. Participants should wear sturdy shoes and bring a “reacher” or hand-grabber tool, if possible. Organizers will provide plastic gloves, trash bags and safety vests, courtesy of the Adopt-a-Highway program by the Delaware Department of Transportation.

The gas station is located at 36345 Lighthouse Road. For more information, call Tom at (301) 518-5500.

By Laura Walter
Staff Reporter