(Editor's Note: This article was originally published on April 26, 2008. We are re-airing it to celebrate this year's Earth Day. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to promptly respond to new questions or comments.)

Five years ago, we began an "Earth Day Fair", which included animal educators, a recycled art contest, BBQ, games, butterfly release and more. It was such a success that we decided to make it an annual event. Each year we have added new activities and participants.

Our school is very small with an equally small budget. Therefore, we use every resource available to us to help keep our expenses as low as possible! Once you start contacting local businesses and community members, you'd be surprised how willing people are to donate their time, money and/or share their talents. Following is a list of our community rescources to give you an idea:

  • A local Master gardener
  • The local recycling center
  • I Love a Clean San Diego
  • Local casinos (donate money and a gift certificate for our raffle)
  • Local Amvets, Women's Club, Homemakers Association and such
  • San Diego Zoo (tickets for raffle)
  • Local worm breeder
  • Project Wildlife (for a donation)
  • Native American drummers and dancers
  • Pacific Animal Productions (price varies)
  • Local crafters that sell plants, herbs and homemade items

In addition to the businesses and community members, the students also play a very important role in the making of our Earth Day Fair. We hold a recycled art contest, which is on display at our event. We send out notes prior to our event, asking parents & staff to gather recycled items found around the house to use for their projects. Projects are made of miscellanious items such as: egg cartons,cool whip bowls, toilet paper rolls, used dryer sheets, milk cartons, plastic cups, cardboard boxes and paper plates. Students choose a project, make it (with little adult help) and enter it in the contest. During the fair, all of the adults vote for their favorite. The projects are marked by numbers and grouped according to grades. Three winners are announced and given prizes which are garden or nature related.

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Recycled Art Projects Pacific Animal Productions

My daughter is the coordinator of the Before and After School Program and puts lots of hard work into this event for weeks on end. The staff at our school and parent volunteers work together to make this an enjoyable event for our students and the community. It would be a worthwhile event to start in your community to bring attention to this day that we should celebrate every day.