This year, Earth Day in Garner comes with options, all of them conveniently located in one spot.
The town’s White Deer Park is set to play host to a trio of Earth Day events – a litter sweep, a celebration and a stargazing session – that begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 9 p.m. Saturday.
“The town places great importance on environmental sustainability initiatives and on environmental education,” said Garner spokesman Rick Mercier. “It’s why we have a (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold-certified nature center that offers environmental education programming throughout the year.”
The day begins with a Big Sweep/Litter Sweep that will meet at White Deer Park, 2400 Aversboro Road. The cleanup effort will also cover the adjacent Lake Benson Park and some Garner streets.
Trash bags, vests and cleanup assignments will be given to participants at the Holly Shelter at White Deer Park at 9 a.m. On-site registration opens at 8:30 a.m., but advance registration is encouraged. Volunteers are also encouraged to bring drinking water and sun protection and to wear closed-toed shoes.
The town typically organizes litter sweeps in both the spring and fall. Katie Spencer, Garner’s outdoor education and parks manager, said the scheduling this year simply worked out for several events on the same day, including the town’s first-ever Earth Day observance.
“We’re really trying to beef up our programming, and having an Earth Day celebration just makes sense,” Spencer said. “I think you can get more buy-in from (litter sweep) volunteers when you can tie them in to other initiatives.”
When the cleanup wraps up, at about 10:30 a.m., the celebration will be getting underway at White Deer Park.
The celebration, centered on the importance of pollinators, is planned for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will feature informational stations for local groups to share their environmental efforts. The event will also offer activities for the entire family.
The final event has little to do with the earth itself, other than taking in the sights from it with the help of a telescope.
Starting at 7 p.m., the Nature Center and nearby field will serve as one of the 49 sites for the fifth annual Statewide Star Party, a signature event of the N.C. Science Festival, starting at 7 p.m.
The Raleigh Astronomy Club will provide telescopes for the skywatching session.
“Our slate of Earth Day events are an effort to engage citizens in fun, educational and environmentally responsible ways,” Mercier said.
To register for the litter sweep, or for more information on these and other outdoor programs in Garner, call White Deer Park Nature Center at 919-661-6982.