Make a sleeping mat for the homeless out of recycled plastic grocery bags, plant a seed for a native crop, and construct a clock out of old library books. These are some of the many creative ways community organizations in the Four Corners taught visitors how to reduce their impact on the environment at Aztec Ruins’ Annual Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 20th.
This year 35 different community organizations presented interactive booths for the public, and the event drew the largest crowd the park has ever had for a special event with over 900 visitors.
This was the fifth year that Aztec Ruins National Monument hosted the event to highlight similarities and differences between our lifestyles and the ways of ancient people. The park itself offered five activities – from making your own adobe bricks to a Junior Ranger recycling challenge – to demonstrate how to minimize our impact on the planet by learning from our ancestors and exploring new technologies.
“I am inspired by the high turnout for this event. I especially appreciate the effort presenters made to engage young people. Hundreds of children went home wanting to recycle and reuse.” says Superintendent Larry Turk. “From landscaping to recycling to home care, people shared innovative ways to reduce their impact.”
Sustainable food producers, garden centers, environmental organizations, local museums, alternative fuel vehicle owners, artisans using recycled materials, and tribal agencies all shared interactive booths with visitors.
One of the most memorable parts of the day was the Haak’u Buffalo Dance Group from Acoma Pueblo performing in the plaza of the archeological site. Many of their traditions involve prayers for rain and maintaining balance in the natural world.
Park Service colleagues from Chaco Culture National Historic Park and Mesa Verde National Park brought a solar telescope to observe the sun, solar bracelets, and a pictograph magnet craft.
Rangers performed a recycled piece of music periodically during the event on garbage cans and glass bottles. Ranger Shiana Montanari, an accomplished musician, composed “Talkin’ Trash” and directed her less musically inclined coworkers. Watch for a video on Aztec Ruins’ Facebook page soon.