If you’re wondering what to do on Earth Day to teach your children about caring for the environment, don’t worry. Corissa Kern has that covered.
The Kenyon-Wanamingo High School senior, with help from her older sister Cass and mother Lisa, has organized her fourth annual Earth Extravaganza aimed at helping people of all ages help the environment in a fun way.
“One thing I love about the Earth Extravaganza is it gets the whole town involved in giving just by showing up,” said Kern.
Set up on a free-will donation basis, the event has received added financial support and volunteer T-shirts through Thrivent Financial, as well as donations from local businesses, clubs and Kern’s friends. Proceeds will be donated to rainforest preservation through CoolEarth.org.
Held Sunday, April 22 at Kenyon Depot Park from 1-4 p.m., the Earth Extravaganza will be similar to previous years, with a few new twists for 2018.
The fun earth-friendly crafts made from recycled materials are back, along with older crafts aimed to please the adult crowd.
The child activities include making a “jellyfish” from plastic and plates, as well as a handy T-shirt bag to carry everything home in. Decorated wine bottle lights and pretty tin can candle holders are among the adult craft items planned.
Thinking about the planet on Earth Day is helpful for the environment, but Kern hopes to motivate families to give it even more thought.
She assembled and will hand out a special recycling craft booklet. Kern said she wanted to share more ideas that she found in her research online, and hopes that families will try them out at home.
“Many of the crafts and activities are created from recycled materials that you can find around your house from materials such as cardboard, tin cans and even just some sticks,” said Kern.
RAD Zoo creatures
As a new feature this year Kern booked the RAD Zoo animal exhibit to be at the Extravaganza from 2-3 p.m. Based in Owatonna, the RAD Zoo will bring an assortment of live reptiles and amphibians — all safely contained.
The Zoo is known for providing entertaining, educational pesentations and typically brings frogs, a salamander, turtles, lizards, snakes and maybe even a small alligator.
Along with the craft activities and closer look at Zoo creatures, Kern will have a variety of fun games of skill and chance. Other activities for the day include chair massages, a silent auction and a bake sale. Kern said they will likely have a small concession stand as well.
While she’s not a newcomer to organizing the Extravaganza, Kern said they can still use more volunteers for Sunday. People who would like to help with the games and crafts or bring something for the bake sale/silent auction should email Kern at [email protected].
Kern started her Earth Day event because she believed she could make a difference. She said the Earth provides everything, and this is a day to return the favor.
“I always had a strong passion for the rainforest and knew if I really tried I could save at least part of the world,” Kern explained.
Each year, Kern chooses a different rainforest preservation program to support through Cool Earth. The Awajún people of northern Peru are watching as oil and gold extraction ruin vast swathes of their ancestral lands.
Cool Earth is working with seven Awajún villages to halt the rapid destruction of rainforests and help them develop a sustainable agriculture that can support them. Their approach is about livelihood support, forest health and community investments.
The native inga plant is being used to provide a tree canopy and facilitate a source of good income. According to Cool Earth, inga fixes nitrogen, restores phosphorus, provides shade for crops and yields firewood. Black pepper is one of the crops that grows well in that shade, and it also happens to have longevity and high profitability.
Kern’s Earth Extravaganza in Kenyon will benefit this effort to preserve the rainforest, informing and educating participants on the dangers the natural world faces and the importance of every action —large and small —to protect it.
This may also be the final year she holds the event in Kenyon. With pre-veterinary college next fall at Winona State, Kern says she and her sister will likely hold the event in Winona next year.