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Sustainability, family fun focus of Earth Day

The Earth decided to show off a bit for its celebratory day.

A cool breeze, clear skies and 59 degrees worth of sunshine Saturday, April 22 set the scene for the Frankfort Park District’s annual Earth Day celebration. The event featured a number of vendors, a tree dedication, crafts and activities for people to enjoy.

“This is only our third year, and every year it grows,” said Calie DeBella, special events coordinator for Frankfort Park District. “It’s a great community event.”

DeBella noted that she saw some familiar faces returning to the celebration and said it’s clear that people feel compelled to come back year after year.

“I think every year people look forward it,” DeBella said.

The park district’s electronic recycling program returned as part of this year’s celebration offering the community a chance to drop off items.

“This year, we’re bringing it back,” DeBella said, noting they couldn’t do that last year. “That’s been a big thing people have been calling [for.]”

Additionally, paper shredding was available during the celebration.

Earlier in the day, an estimated 250 volunteers from local Girl Scout troops, Boy Scout troops, school organizations, homeowners associations and others joined the Village to help clean up and plant flowers.

DeBella said the Frankfort Park District event is designed to show the community how important it is to protect the environment.

“We have Earth-friendly games and recycling… and activities to show the kids,” she said.

Rachel Perez, of Manteno, was guiding her children as they looked to complete a drawing. She, too, shared that celebrating Earth Day in Main Park with the Frankfort Park District serves as a good way to bring awareness to the challenges the environment faces in today’s world.

“[It’s helpful] especially for the little ones,” she said.

Megan Kosteck, of Frankfort, said she was enjoying the celebration.

“It’s a beautiful day,” she said. “It’s a great day to get the community out. The kids here, they’re having a lot of fun. It’s been just nice to have everybody together and enjoying the outdoors now that it’s finally nice out.”

The Kosteck’s had selected a tree they intended to take home and plant in their yard at home.

Megan’s 9-year-old daughter, Allison Kosteck said celebrating Earth Day is important to her.

“I don’t like that trees get cut down,” she said. “I like that we get to celebrate the fact that we still have trees and we get to plant more.”

Megan said she also likes how informative the event is.

“We got information on butterflies that we picked up and seeds for butterflies,” she said.

Cheryl Meintel, also of Frankfort, was watching as her daughters, 8-year-old Olivia and 3-year-old Ava, looked to make bird feeders.

“I like it,” Olivia said.

Cheryl agreed.

“We love our birds,” she said.

This year was the Meintel’s first time attending the Earth Day celebration. Cheryl said she and her family attend many of the programs offered by the Frankfort Park District.

“I like our community,” she said. “They do nice things.”

Cheryl said it’s nice to see how the event aims to bring greater awareness to the environment and the challenges it faces also.

“There’s a lot of organizations out there,” she said. “There’s a lot of awareness. Events like [the Frankfort Park District’s Earth Day celebration] create that. [Children] learn about it in school also.”

Last year, the celebration saw between 150 and 200 participants.

“It’s just a fun afternoon in the park, and the weather is cooperating,” DeBella said. “[It’s] a little chilly today, but it’s still no rain and a beautiful, sunny day.”

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