The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 19, 2014

Prairie State Park kicks off Earth Day events

MINDENMINES, Mo. — Prairie State Park began celebrating Earth Day early with an event Saturday that provided a chance for people of all ages to learn more about how they can protect the environment.

Meagan Duffee, a seasonal worker with the park, said the various activities and crafts during the Earth Day Festival focused on using household items that otherwise would be thrown away.

“We’re making insects out of egg cartons, using toilet paper rolls to make pencil holders,” she said, adding visitors also could take native seeds home and plant them in their garden.

“We’re trying to promote the idea of native plants helping out butterflies and the wildlife, and how they’re better than non-natives that really don’t provide any nutritional value to our wildlife,” she said.

Christy Vansel, of Mindenmines, brought her four children, ages 8, 7, 3 and a 4-month-old, to the event.

Her oldest daughter, Lizzy, created three butterflies out of crinkled magazine paper. The butterflies were then attached to a string and hung on a small stick.

“I’m going to put it above my bed,” Lizzy said.

Jan and George Syrigos, who make up the musical group WildHeart, performed during the event.

Jan Syrigos said she and her husband have been performing for 15 years, and their focus is to bring “the heart of the wild to the heart of the child.”

“So, we try to teach about wildlife and habitats, and also how kids can impact the Earth in positive ways,” she said.

Dana Hoisington, an interpretive resource specialist with Missouri State Parks, came up with the idea to have the park’s first Earth Day event.

“The tall grass prairie is the most endangered ecosystem in the world,” he said. “So it’s a chance for us to raise awareness about the tall grass prairie and how important it is.”

Hoisington said it was also a chance for people to learn about the Earth.

“And learn that recycling is important, and it’s not a new thing,” he said. “Mother Nature has been recycling things forever.”

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