Earth Day celebrated on MDI

Posted April 17, 2010, at 6:29 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:45 a.m.

BAR HARBOR, Maine — Predicted rain never materialized Saturday, which helped bring out hundreds of people to College of the Atlantic’s annual Earth Day celebration.

The event, believed to be one of the largest and oldest Earth Day celebrations in Maine, included livestock demonstrations, a lecture on food system sustainability, a composting workshop, dance performances, children’s activities, and food and craft vendors. Attendees also had a chance to help plant a tree on the COA campus as part of the celebration.

“It’s an Earth Day event. It’s great fun,” COA President David Hales said while browsing a tent of vendors, information booths and activities. “For us, one of the great aspects is that it gives people across the island a place to come.”

Lyn Berzinis, special events coordinator for the college, said COA has held Earth Day celebrations for at least a decade and likely longer. Earth Day first was celebrated in 1970, a year after the small liberal arts college was founded.

COA’s annual celebration has been around long enough to become a tradition for many MDI area residents to attend, Berzinis said.

“There are a lot of families that come to this [celebration] year after year,” she said.

One of the highlights of the day was an event in which participants threw handfuls of colored dye at one another until they were covered from head to toe in brilliantly hued pigments.

According to Heather Martin, a COA alumna and the school’s capital campaign assistant manager, the event was modeled on traditional Holi ceremonies, which trace their roots to the Indian subcontinent in Asia and are usually held in March. Martin organized this year’s Holi event at COA.

“It’s a Hindu celebration of spring,” she said.

Earth Day officially falls on Thursday, April 22, but COA held its celebration on the weekend to give more people a chance to participate.

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