JACKSON TWP.  Kent State at Stark held its annual celebration of Earth Day on April 27. The family-friendly event is held in the parking lot of the Campus Center and in the campus pond area.

The afternoon included an annual tree planting, a live animal show from the Akron Zoo Mobile, a magic show, tree campus presentation, a pond walk and live music.

There were many student clubs with tables and activities set up to teach visitors about the environment and ways to protect it.

There were more than two dozen more vendors and activity table setups this year. Marketing assistant and event coordinator Brielle Loughney said they wanted to bring in some new vendors from Summit County and other areas to expand the event.

“We have 60-70 vendors this year with some from Akron including Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens and the Akron ZooMobile,” Loughney said. “We also have some new companies here that recycle or repurpose items such as Marshall’s Antique Warehouse. Marshall’s is an architectural salvage company that repurposes items. The Canton Quilting Club is here which quilting is a good way to repurpose cloth or clothing.”

There was also a food truck this year called Cookery. The owners serve food with utensils that are biodegradable or can be recycled. This was the 11th year for Earth Day celebration and Loughney said they were expecting between 600 and 800 people to visit this year.

Coordinator of public relations and media communications Melissa Griffy Seeton said, “The event is a good opportunity for our environmental studies program to do community outreach and to keep environmental issues at the top of everyone’s mind.”

One of the newer vendors was from Ernie’s Bike Shop. Dennis Updike is the community outreach coordinator and said that they were setup to demonstrate some biking equipment.

“We are letting people try out one of ebikes that is a pedal assist bike, we also have a utility trailer that goes on the back of a bike and a small children’s trailer to pull with a bike,” Updike said.

Clare Fekete, education specialist with the Akron Zoo, gave a presentation with live animals. She had a box turtle, an opossum and a porcupine.

“Porcupines have over 30,000 quills on their body, they can’t shoot the quills, a person has to touch or brush up against the quills and that can be painful,” Fekete.

Debbie and James Marshall from Marshall’s Antique Warehouse had a table set up for kids to paint old upholstery springs.

“My husband is a demolition contractor and we’ve been warehousing some of the items he gets from building demolitions,” Debbie said. “We set up the retail part of the business to repurpose items like old doors and windows.”

By the end of the day, people went home with free carrying bags, a free tree, free vegetable and flower plants and a free banana from Earth Fare. Plus, many had new found information on how to recycle, reuse or repurpose many household items.