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Local Earth Day Festival Returned To A Live Celebration For 2022



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As event MC Dr Aaron Coopersmith said at the April 23 Newtown Earth Day Festival: “We’re back.”

For roughly six hours on Saturday, the front lawn at Newtown Middle School was packed with tents, vendors, families, and some animals — all celebrating the global holiday that actually fell on April 22.

As previously announced in The Newtown Bee, organized by a group of concerned citizens, the annual outdoor event is designed to highlight Newtown’s abundant natural resources and help attendees learn how to become a bit greener. The event included children’s activities, live music, animal exhibits, refreshments, vendors, a silent auction, and Newtown Lions Club’s Lose the Litter initiative. Newtown Lions Club members also sold 2022 Great Pootatuck Duck Race and Mustang raffle tickets at the event.

A quick scan of the booths at mid-day had children building birdhouses for Eastern Bluebirds, potting flowers, Garden Club of Newtown members distributing tree saplings, a polar bear at the Center for Biological Diversity tent greeting guests, many people milling about between tents, and laughter and greetings could be heard.

As recently announced by Governor Ned Lamont, this year marked the 52nd Anniversary of Earth Day, which underscores the importance of reducing carbon emissions from the transportation sector to combat the climate crisis, improving air quality, improving health, and improving the quality of life for residents.

In December 2021, Lamont signed a climate executive order directing the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT), the Department of Environmental Energy Protection (DEEP), and all other state agencies to take meaningful actions to reduce carbon emissions.

“The State of Connecticut is an example of how government can continue to be innovative and effective while also becoming more environmentally sustainable,” Lamont said in a recent release. “I am proud that our government is leading the way and state agencies are making meaningful progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We are more effective when we are working together to reduce our carbon footprint and mitigate our impact on climate change.”

Transportation remains the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Connecticut, according to the release.

Under the governor’s executive order, CTDOT can no longer purchase or use state funds to purchase diesel buses after 2023 and must create a roadmap for electrifying the state’s bus fleet by 2035. CTDOT now has ten battery electric buses on the road, with two more coming soon, and nearly 50 more on order.

The state agency also has 30 free public electric vehicle charging stations at its Newington headquarters. Additionally, CTDOT has provided 104 Community Connectivity Grant Program awards totaling more than $38 million to communities around the state. The governor’s budget includes even more funding for the program.

The Newtown Earth Day Festival marked its 12th year in 2022.

While music was playing and attendees were clearly having fun, Coopersmith said the event brings awareness of environmental action and awareness especially for people in Newtown.

Vendors at the event, as listed on newtownearthday.org, included Associated Refuse, Back Yard Bee Keepers Association, Bent of the River Audubon Center, Birds of Prey, BT Phantasmagoria, Center for Biological Diversity, Cullens Youth Association Inc, Edmond Town Hall, Endurvinna, EverWonder Children’s Museum, Fair Food Project, Freedom Farm Animal Sanctuary, Girl Scout Troop 22, Holmes Fine Gardens, Iroquois Gas, Lions Club Duck Race, My Place Restaurant, Newtown Arts Festival, Newtown Conservation Commission, Newtown Ecumenical Workcamp Servants, Newtown Forest Association, Newtown Greenery, Newtown Parks and Recreation, NHS Environmental Club, Popowich Chiropractic, Protect Our Pollinators, Public Works Department, Renewal by Andersen, Renewal By Anderson, Send a Smile Cards & Home Décor, and The Garden Club Of Newtown.

Newtown Earth Day is also a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Partial proceeds from festivals are donated to Newtown Scholarship Association, earmarked for students majoring in environmentally friendly studies, according to an announcement for the event.

For additional information about the event see its website newtownearthday.org.

Education Editor Eliza Hallabeck can be reached at eliza@thebee.com.

Newtown Earth Day Festival 2022 organizers stand together at the event. From left are Paul Lundquist, Bill Buchler, Aaron Coopersmith, Rob Kaiser, Andy Ashla, Brad Paynter, and Dan Holmes. —Bee Photos, Hallabeck
Julia Kaiser finds her rabbit Lavender a place to snack in the grass at the April 23 Newtown Earth Day Festival, held on Newtown Middle School’s front lawn.
The Maruschak family — from left Lucy, dad Mark, dog Winnie, mom Danielle, and Ryan — smile together at the Newtown Earth Day Festival.
The Cortina family — dad Frank, mom Hannah, and daughter Estelle — meet the Center for Biological Diversity’s “polar bear” Jessica Kurose at the Newtown Earth Day Festival.
London Mehmeti holds a flower he planted in a pot at the Garden Club of Newtown tent at the Newtown Earth Day Festival.
Luna Mehmeti plants a flower in a pot at the Garden Club of Newtown tent at the Newtown Earth Day Festival with mom Tatiana Mehmeti watching.
Ava Musella shows off a newly made headband from the Protect Our Pollinators (POP) tent at the Newtown Earth Day Festival, with mom Amy Musella.
Lisa Miskella of Freedom Farm Animal Sanctuary holds Hollis, a rescued Angora rabbit, at the Newtown Earth Day Festival.
A view of Newtown Middle School’s front lawn with the 2022 Newtown Earth Day Festival underway.
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