By Janine Bowen
While many local residents were focusing on Easter last weekend, residents in Ossining took time on Saturday to celebrate a holiday of a different sort.
The fifth annual Earth Day Celebration, hosted by Green Ossining, aimed to give residents and fun and interactive way to learn to help the environment and reduce their carbon footprint.
“It’s actually a great opportunity for the community to get together and take a look at all of the different local organizations that are here to help them to learn a little bit about how to live a sustainable life. There are great people in our community that are experts in so many different areas and they’re all here giving their time so that people can learn from them,” said Suzie Ross, of Green Ossining.
The day featured a variety of activities that helped to promote reusing and recycling. High School students ran a booth that taught people how to create reusable tote bags out of old T-shirts. In addition, the event sponsored an athletic swap, where people could trade old sports equipment instead of throwing it out, as well as an e-waste deposit.
Nancy Miller, a former Westchester resident who now lives in Maine, said that she believes events like the Earth Day Celebration are important because Westchester is behind other regions when it comes to environmental sustainability.
“Up [in Maine], we pick garbage up so well and recycling is such a big deal; lots of people live off the land. I just think that to conserve our natural resources and make sure our world stays as beautiful as it was when we were born into it [is important],” she said.
The event featured a variety of other entertainment, including food, artisans, and demonstrations, with one of the more popular booths being a bicycle powered blender. Kids and adults alike had the opportunity to use the energy created by pedaling the bike to blend together the ingredients to make a smoothie. While the activity was fun, it also helped to promote energy independence.
“[The point is] to use other sources of energy to make things and to give people an understanding of what kind of energy is required to make modern convenience we take for granted and that there are alternative ways to get those comfort items,” said Eric Gearity, a volunteer who helped create the bike.
This year’s event was held in memory of recently deceased folk singer, Pete Seeger, who was a lover of the Hudson River. Scattered throughout the Louis Engle Water Front Park during the event were quotes from Seeger that spoke to environmental awareness and promoted kindness towards the Earth and other people.
Ossining Town Supervisor Susanne Donnelly explained that the Earth Day Celebration has taken off since the inaugural event in 2010 and she believes that each event or environmental program in the town helps to make residents more aware of the environmental issues that are plaguing our society.
“We think that it’s important that everybody realize that we are in climate change; we have certain things happen, Sandy was pretty devastating to us down here. We just think it’s very important, especially for our adults and young people to realize that recycling and repurposing and all that stuff is important,” she said.