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A RAFT OF EARTH DAY FUN.

Byline: Jim Feehan The Register-Guard

Danielle Ward of Eugene wanted her children to learn about the environment.

On Saturday, Ward and her two sons - Andrew, 8, and Simon, 4 - did just that as they attended the sixth annual Earth Day celebration at the River's Edge Plaza at the Eugene Water & Electric Board.

Booths lined the plaza, offering information on energy conservation, composting, forest preservation and outdoor exploration.

The Earth Day celebration also included music, free river raft trips, a display of hybrid cars, a tour of the dump, and a film and lecture series named for John Baldwin, founding director of both the environmental studies program and the Institute of Sustainable Environment at the University of Oregon.

Ward, who home-schools her boys, said the event helped foster a respect for the environment in her children.

"The more children learn about nature and experience it, the more they will grow to be environmentalists," she said.

Andrew and Simon made the most of an unused raft, turning it into a makeshift trampoline.

Bouncing about the 12-foot raft, Andrew explained the importance of celebrating Earth Day.

"Because the Earth is beautiful, and we don't want to get it dirty," he said.

Leaving a lasting legacy of environmental stewardship is one reason for commemorating Earth Day, said John Femal, event organizer.

"We need to work on improving our environment and the Earth system for our children. With global warming and resource depletion, it's a legacy I worry about for my kids," Femal said.

On April 22, 1970, the United States celebrated its first Earth Day, demonstrating an outpouring of concern for protecting the environment. In the decade that followed, Congress passed the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. The Environmental Protection Agency also was created.

Under the big top of the Emerald People's Utility District tent, utility employees were lauding energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs and offering free tours of the dump - the Short Mountain Methane Power Plant.

`We had 25 people fill the bus for our first tour (Saturday),' said Tom Hunt, an EPUD conservationist.

Earth Day could have been mistaken for Arbor Day as 300 maple, dogwood and other trees and bushes were distributed free.

Christina Zolper of Eugene interrupted her cycling along the bike path near EWEB to listen to the musicians and cart off a snowball bush.

"I have a nice backyard to plant it in," she said, cradling the plant under her arm as she rode off on her bicycle.

CAPTION(S):

Andrew Ward (center), 8, is king of the raft at the Earth Day event Saturday at the Eugene Water & Electric Board plaza. Also enjoying the event, which included free river trips and information booths, are Zachary Parker, 8, in gray sweat shirt, Simon Ward, 4, and Maya Chamberlain, in kayak.
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Title Annotation:Environment; The event at the EWEB plaza offers films, free trees and river trips - and many ways to help save the planet
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Apr 24, 2005
Words:465
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