GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — Local groups hosted a wide variety of different events in Green Bay and around the Fox Valley to celebrate Earth Day on Saturday.
Along the shores of Green Bay, Alliance for the Great Lakes and Green Bay Sail & Paddle teamed up to clean up trash at Bay Beach.
Around 20 locals showed up to help, removing pieces of garbage from the beach—organizers said small plastic pieces were the most common—and collecting them in bags to be weighed and separated.
Green Bay Sail & Paddle Board President Tim Hess said the location of the beach makes it particularly vulnerable to garbage washing ashore, so the cleanup was very much needed.
“It’s fairly dirty I would say," said Hess, "We’re operating at the mouth of the Fox River and that flows north, with changes in wind and what not trash can get blown around. We’ll probably have at least 50 pounds of trash today.”
Just down the road at Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, a similar effort was underway to remove a more organic nuisance.
Green Bay Conservation Corp. organized an effort to remove an invasive herb called "Garlic Mustard" from the Sanctuary.
According to Conservation Corp. member Taylor Zipper, around 35 people showed up to help with efforts to remove the plant, which he says can crowd out native vegetation. He hopes that volunteers' efforts to remove Garlic Mustard will give native plants a chance to rebound.
“We have a lot of natives growing in our greenhouse here, so we’ll be able to fill that in with all the native seeded plants to help out really beautify this place,” said Zipper.
In Appleton, Lawrence University held their annual Earthfest to raise awareness of environmental and social justice issues.
The festival included food and music, dozens of booths from student and local organizations designed to highlight and advocate sustainability initiatives.
Co-President of Greenfire, Lawrence's Environmental Justice Club, Lauren Chamberlain encouraged visitors to celebrate Earth Day by getting out and finding ways to help the environment this Earth Day.
“Just do what you can this Earth Day, anything you can do," said Chamberlain, "You can plant a tree, or you can join a local organization, anything that you want to do. We just have to celebrate the Earth and do what we can.”