This winter was rough, y’all. It snowed, my neighbor swore the world was ending, and some guy went cross-country skiing through Forsyth Park. And while I admit I hid under a blanket for the better part of two months, together we all emerged victorious into spring. What better way to channel this reawakening than a celebration honoring our Earth?
On April 21, numerous organizations and environmentally conscious citizens will plank Forsyth Park during the 18th annual Savannah Earth Day Festival. The event serves as an important opportunity for local government, businesses, nonprofits and community groups to educate while connecting with the public and each other.
Local nonprofit Savannah Chatham Sustainability Coalition took over production this year, with support from the City of Savannah.
They are following the global theme, “Zero Waste,” with exhibits that specifically raise awareness to the amount of plastic used and tossed in daily life. This includes a large-scale sculpture made of recycled plastic bottles by local artist collective The Revival Society.
Free workshops are also held throughout the day, many that discuss the theme, including “Waste to Wealth: How to Use the Three R’s (Reducing, Reusing and Recycling) to Your Advantage" by Junkluggers; “Energy Efficiency” by McCalls HVAC and Georgia Power; and “Zero Waste Clean Food Choices” by Palmetto Plant Eaters Club & Lowcountry.
Returning favorites include: “Dispelling the Fear of Snakes,” “Wild Medicinal Mushrooms” and “Protecting the Bees.” A full schedule of workshops (including those specifically for children) can be found at earthdaysavannah.org.
Park Avenue between Bull and Drayton will close as Savannah Toyota displays energy efficient cars. A solar-powered food truck, Kona Ice, will offer a cold treat, and Children’s Garden mobile garden will offer some education. The Savannah Tree Foundation’s annual Earth Day tree walk begins promptly at 11 a.m. and the Savannah Bicycle Campaign will once again provide free bike valet, with a group ride beginning as the festival ends.
Musician Matthew Jaidev will open the event with a mixture of nature sounds and music that will kickstart the energy of the day. Additional musical acts include Savannah’s Ember City, Keystone Postcards, Laiken Love & the Fellowship of Love and Josephine Johnson. Matthew L. Adams and Louis Clausi of WRUU’s weekly show “Some of the That Old Savannah Magic” will emcee the event.
In the spirit of philanthropy, Fox & Fig Cafe, the festival food sponsor, will sell canned water with proceeds benefiting the Earth Day Festival. Likewise, beer will be provided by Moon River Brewing Co., with sales supporting the Ogeechee Riverkeeper.
When the first Earth Day celebration was held in 1970, the goal was to unite the nation’s fragmented environmental movement to better reach the public and mobilize a response to water and air quality issues. While many Earth Day festivals take place around the state and country each year, Savannah’s is one of the few that is still truly focused on education and activism, rather than crafts and entertainment.
The Savannah Earth Day Festival is the city’s largest environmental outreach event of the year and one of the largest educational events in conjunction with Earth Day in Georgia.