Little steps make a big difference for P.E.I. Earth Day events

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Little steps make a big difference for P.E.I. Earth Day events

The cool spring breeze carries more than just chill across the sunny fields in the Charlottetown area.

It can also blow garbage.

But bit by bit, piece by piece, helping hands are catching it and putting it in garbage bags.

"Why?" asks mother Sarah Riehl to her four-year-old son Wyatt. "What's the special day today?"

"Because it's Earth day," he replies.

Riehl started bringing Wyatt out to collect garbage last Earth Day.

"I just like to teach him about our environment and how we share the environment with the animals and nature and we talk about how our food grows in the ground and what happens if there is garbage in it and how we don't want garbage in our food," she said.

Earth Day began as a movement in the U.S. back in 1970.

Now, 192 countries celebrate Earth Day to focus on global environmental issues.

The Town of Stratford, P.E.I., held its first Earth Day event Sunday at Robert Cotton Park.

Ben Grieder, the community energy plan co-oordinator for the town, called around to find out if other communities were holding events and couldn't find any.

"The town of Stratford has a sustainability plan and we focus a lot on sustainability at all our public events," Grieder said. "This is something that we have been wanting to do for a while."

There were educational displays and games from different organizations like the Island Waste Management Corporation.

Stations were set up where kids could make crafts with things found in nature, paints, wires and marbles.

There was also a saker falcon and kestrel outside for those who were looking to get closer to a bird of prey.

People were collecting garbage around the centre while others were dropping off cans and bottles. Youth leaders were taking the donations and sorting them for recycling as a part of a fundraiser for the Stratford Youth Centre.

Grieder said the activities were all part of an effort to get more people thinking about the environment.

"Earth Day is a day that can be celebrated every day, you don't need an official event like this to make people aware of that," he said.

"Is one Earth day enough? No, but is one Earth Day enough for now? It's a good starting point and then from there we can continue to protect the environment every single day."

At picturesque Victoria Park, a Maritime tourist was admiring Charlottetown for Earth Day.

"After I moved to Canada, every day is an Earth Day," said Priya Durairaj, a doctor from Bathurst, N.B.

Durairaj moved from India to Canada 11 years ago.

"Canada is an impressive country and I see that everybody is responsible enough to maintain things," Durairaj said.

"It doesn't change anything for today, it is an every day story."

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