The thing about environmental issues is that they can lack a sense of immediacy. “It just doesn’t register sometimes,” says Jim O’Dowd, a member of the Caring for Creation committee, which is organizing the annual Earth Day Fair at the Reformed Church on April 28 in New Paltz. “If people hear there’s going to be a problem in the year 2040, that sounds like it’s a long time away. But think about the children: A nine-year-old today is only going to be 36 years old in the year 2040.”
With that in mind, O’Dowd says that this year’s fair will highlight the connection between environmental issues and children, focusing on the importance of taking action now to safeguard the world for those future adults who are among us now.
This year’s Earth Day Fair – the tenth such event held in New Paltz – is slated for Sunday, April 28. The day will begin with a service at the church; and then from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine, the Fair will welcome visitors free of charge for live music (Betty & the Baby Boomers, Wind & Stone, Tulula! and Rich & Leo), children’s activities, demonstrations and displays by local environmental organizations and businesses.
An array of healthy refreshments will be available for purchase, with proceeds going back into environmentally friendly upgrades for the Church, says O’Dowd, like a lighting project in the works intended to save both energy and on church operating costs.
The participating local businesses and organizations that will be represented include the Nature Conservancy; the Mid-Hudson Astronomical Association; Anne and Dave Rogers, farmers and owners of Dancing Meadow Farm; Oona Stoever from Environmentally Friendly Toys and Recycled Crafts; Huguenot Street CSA; Billiam van Roestenberg of Highland’s Liberty View Farm; the Lifetime Learning Institute; New Paltz Gardens for Nutrition; the New Paltz Healing Arts Center; the New York Public Interest Research Group; the New Paltz Climate Action Coalition; the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Research & Estuary Program; educators and representatives from Norrie Point Environmental Center; Amoreen Armetta and Tierney Medick of the Phillies Bridge Farm Project; Dan Shapley of Hudson Riverkeeper; the Rural Ulster Preservation Company (RUPCO); natural cleaning by Scrubbed & Polished; the New Paltz Recycling & Reuse Center; and Sustainable Hudson Valley, among others.
Jim O’Dowd’s wife Janet is also on the committee. She says that the Earth Day Fair is a time for reviewing what has already been done to care for our environment, “while hopefully inspiring people to become even more active and mindful about what we can do to nurture our world.” And while the event has that thoughtful component to it and is intended to be inspiring, it’s also a lot of fun, says Jim O’Dowd. “It’s a modern issue that we’re dealing with, but it’s also like an old-fashioned church picnic.”
Earth Day Fair, Sunday, April 28, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., free, Reformed Church of New Paltz, 92 Huguenot Street, New Paltz; (845) 255-6340, www.reformedchurchofnewpaltz.org.