SRU’s 33rd annual Earth Fest will be taking place at the Macoskey Center on Sat. April 22, 2023 from 12 to 6 pm. The event is held each year to celebrate both Earth Day and the center’s anniversary.
The free event will feature entertainment and education for people of all ages. Some of those activities will include a vendor market, an electric car show, live music, horseback riding and more. It is also a space students will present work through the Student Sustainability Project Showcase.
Food and drinks will be offered via local businesses. One of those is Fuzzy Monkey Coffee, a veteran owned business that works closely with their coffee farmers.
“We try to seek businesses that are aligned to our sustainability ethics,” the manager of the Macoskey Center, Samantha Laurence, said, “but we’re also just trying to support local businesses in the community.”
Market vendors are picked for their sustainable practices as well. For example, Silver Maple Ceramics will be present because of their nature inspired designs, and another company will be there to sell reusable beeswax covers.
The market will also include informational vendors such as Climate Lobby and Citizens Climate Education, which is a local climate activist group. The electric car show will be presented by an anti-fracking activist group called Marcellus Outreach Butler.
“[We’re] trying to just raise awareness of businesses and or companies who are leaning into…their sustainability ethics,” Laurence said. “Especially in terms of sustainability of social, economic and environmental systems.”
Aside from raising awareness, Earth Fest also serves as a way to raise money for the Macoskey Center. This year, they are introducing a raffle basket fundraiser for the first time ever. The baskets will feature products from sustainable businesses Fundraising methods have changed over the years, but Laurence believes that this one may stick.
Something else that changes every year is the educational activities that are available. Students who are taking an Interpretive Methods class create the activities and center them around a theme. This year, there will be six programs and they will all focus on the growth and development of local birds.
The Keystone State Literacy Association is also working with this avian theme. They are planning a nature walk based around the children’s storybook, “The Nest that Wren Built.”
“They’re going to actually have a…Hawk trainer present to talk about birds and to just get to introduce people to bird conservation,” Laurence said. “But they’re also going to have some great hands on activities for the kids, [like] teaching them how to build their own nest, that connects to the themes of the storybook as well.”
Another event for children is horseback riding. While horseback riding has not been available every year at Earth Fest, it is something they’ve done in the past. The Storm Harbor Equestrian Center will partner with the Macoskey center to take children on horseback through the sensory trail.
“We typically have a little over 500 people attend the event at least,” Laurence said. She believes this is important for several reasons.
“It inspires them and encourages them to get involved with sustainability activities and demonstration projects, as well as maybe even some of the research we’re doing here…” she said. “It’s really important that we have an event that’s welcoming people from all different walks of life…they get inspired once they’re here to either get more involved…or take that sustainability ethic with them into their own lives.”