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Celebrate Earth Month 2017 focuses on environment, tree planting activities

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A Springfield couple unloads leaves that will be turned into rich compost.

The local observance of the 47th Earth Day is an offering of a variety of activities celebrating the outdoors and encouraging environmental stewardship.

A complete schedule of events for the month of April is available at springfieldmo.gov/earthmonth.

What originally began as a one-day event has now expanded to include all of April. Activities begin April 1 and extend through April 30.

Earth Month will include tree plantings, waterway and trail cleanups, nature hikes, marches, “Party for the Planet” at the Dickerson Park Zoo, e-waste collections, museum exhibits and other fun and productive activities for all ages, abilities and interests.

Springfield will host a Pre-Earth Day celebration from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Friday, April 21, with a dedication and open house event at the newly upgraded Yardwaste Recycling Center, 3790 S. Farm Road 119, Brookline, Mo.

After a dedication ceremony at 10 a.m., there will be guided facility tours and various recycling information booths from the City and its recycling partners.

The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970, bringing 20 million Americans from all walks of life to a common cause now widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. The passage of the landmark Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and many other groundbreaking environmental programs soon followed – all designed to protect the natural environment where we live, work and play.

Arbor Day observances, honoring trees and their many and varied benefits, began as early as the 1800s and officially in Nebraska City, Nebraska on April 10, 1872. Arbor Day 2017 marks the celebration of the City of Springfield’s 32nd year as a Tree City, USA. Tree plantings recognizing Arbor Day Poster Contest winners will take place at several Springfield schools throughout the month.

For a complete listing of Earth Day and Arbor Day activities, including volunteer opportunities, visit springfieldMo.gov/Earthmonth. The events and activities list will be updated throughout the month as more information is received.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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