Commentary: Celebrate Earth Day on Sunday along the bay

Call it "Earth Day at the Bay."

The Newport Bay Conservancy will present the 22nd annual Earth Day at the Bay on Sunday. The event is located at the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center within the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve.

This free ecological festival, "Preserving Nature for the Future," takes place from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Earth Day is a time for all of us to think about how we can protect our planet and preserve it for the future. There are many ways to do so: recycling, reusing, conserving resources, preventing pollution.

Often simple steps are all it takes. We just need to understand what those steps can be. The environmental booths at this festival will show visitors some ways they can help.

Booths will include environmental organizations, such as Sea and Sage Audubon Society, the Environmental Nature Center, the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center, the Sierra Club, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, the Orange County Society for Conservation Biology and the American Cetacean Society.

The Orange County Bird of Prey Center will display live raptors and emphasize their positive effect on the local environment. The Orange County Zoo will display several specimens from its collection. The California Coastal Commission will display and sell plants native to the local environment.

The festival will include booths emphasizing water quality and recycling. Electronic waste will be collected, courtesy of All Green Electronics Recycling.

The event will include many family and children's activities like some arts and craft booths, puppet shows, science booths, face-painting and henna tattoos.

There will be a scavenger hunt in which participants visit various booths and fill out a card with answers to environmental questions; completed cards will be eligible for a small prize and entry in larger prize drawings. Inside the Outdoors will offer students service learning opportunities.

The Newport Beach Film Festival will present "Nothing Like Chocolate," a film about challenging the industrial giants who often use cocoa harvested by exploited child labor. An opportunity drawing will feature great prizes from local merchants. Live music will be provided by Jason Feddy. Food will be available from Tamarindo food trucks, an organic, locally grown, sustainable family food enterprise.

The Newport Bay Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of the Upper Newport Bay, the largest remaining estuary in Southern California. The Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center is located at 2301 University Drive, at the corner of Irvine Avenue, in Newport Beach.

JEAN WHITAKER is a Newport Bay Conservancy volunteer.

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