Spring is known as “Outreach Season” for most environmental educators. With the observance of Earth Day on April 22, many organizations and venues feature science themed events all month long, including a statewide N.C. Science Festival from April 10-26, 2015. This multi-day celebration is an initiative of Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, with a variety of funding support. The Festival highlights the educational, cultural and financial impact of science in our state. Through hands-on activities, science talks, lab tours, nature experiences, exhibits and performances, the Festival engages a wide range of public audiences while inspiring future generations. The Earth Fair OBX event was originally created as an effort to represent involvement from the coast as part of this statewide celebration of science and has continued as a tradition for the past four years.
This Earth Fair OBX IV took place April 18, at Jennette’s Pier, through partnership efforts between the federation’s education coordinator, Sara Hallas and pier educator, Jim Gould. A different approach was taken this year by setting a goal to use this event as a way of making more long-term, positive environmental impacts throughout the community beyond the timeframe of the 3-hour event itself. With grant funding support from the Outer Banks Community Foundation, 50 rain barrels were acquired to be given away to participants during the event. Some of rain barrels were built by volunteers, from up-cycled shipping containers. Once installed, these 50 rain barrels can collect and store thousands of gallons of rainwater, preventing polluted runoff from reaching coastal waters. Additionally, 20 bird house kits were prepared from up-cycled pallets, with materials cut and drilled to be easily put together by kids and families at home. Over 400 species of birds depend on the Outer Banks for migration and habitat and birding is a great activity to inspire environmental stewardship. These practical giveaways helped draw a crowd of 500 folks to not just attend, but participate throughout the event and beyond.
Other Earth Fair OBX IV highlights included live acoustic music, face painting, and even t-shirt tie dying. Thanks to On Time Marketing Corp. for offering a great deal on printing event shirts, showcasing a custom logo designed by Brett Harrison. The array of local businesses that were involved with the event proves that the Outer Banks community recognizes the benefits of a healthy environment.