Nature lovers find a world of fun at Planet Earth festival

Planet Earth Day promotes ideas to keep Mother Nature happy

staff writerApril 17, 2011 

— Several hundred people enjoyed a Planet Earth celebration in downtown Raleigh on Saturday afternoon before a stormy Mother Nature shut down the fun.

Young and old milled outside the state Capitol and the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, picking up pamphlets and perusing exhibits about green living and preserving the planet.

Children were bowling with huge balls, or so-called "urban tumbleweeds," made from plastic shopping bags and other trash that can entangle birds and clog sewers, gutters and waterways.

Conservation organizations touted recycling, worm composting, alternative energy, mass transit, backyard chicken coops and much more. There were live turtles for children to touch and long-leaf pine sprigs for North Carolinians to plant for reforesting.

Carina Barnett-Loro, an outreach worker with the Sierra Club, was at the event with Tytiana Smith, 10, and Kaninya Dibbins, 7, two Raleigh girls who plan to make the Earth a better place for future generations.

"I'm going to clean it up, and I'm going to make others help me," Tytiana said.

Shiloh Fields, a 6-year-old from Zebulon, also has a plan for saving the planet.

"Don't litter," he said.

Burt's Bees, a sponsor of the event, commissioned a cardboard castle that Travis Cohn, a Chatham County sculptor, helped build.

As children ran in and out of a kingdom, he and others took great joy in constructing from recycled boxes, Cohn looked toward the darkening skies hearkening the band of violent storms that would sweep through downtown Raleigh and end the event two hours ahead of schedule.

"Looks like we might have some help taking it down," Cohn said.

anne.blythe@newsobserver.com or 919-836-4948

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