Town's Earth Day celebration spotlights eco-friendly attitudes

By Jennifer Holloway - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Wed., Apr. 20, 2011
Ashley Piepul and Taylor Mortimore modeled fashions they created from recycled materials at the Earth Day Celebration.
Ashley Piepul and Taylor Mortimore modeled fashions they created from recycled materials at the Earth Day Celebration.

The town of Enfield came together on the Town Green the afternoon of Friday, April 15, to celebrate Earth Day. Town Manager Matthew Coppler said the event was an effort to educate the public on ways to help the environment by tying together various organizations representing different environmental elements.

One organization present was the Enfield High School Recycling Club. Formed last spring, the club collects milk cartons, 5-cent returnables and textbooks, among other initiatives. Stephen Smith, a physics teacher at EHS and faculty sponsor of the club, said it thrills him to see other faculty, staff and students finding items to recycle or starting new projects.

Samantha Wages, an EHS senior and secretary of the club, said she got involved to make a difference to clean things up. She and other members of the club spent the afternoon educating people on what the club does and collecting returnables and books. While having previously collected old textbooks for Reading Tree, a company that distributes used books to schools in need, the group collected books at the event to help EHS art students.

Senior Ashley Piepul modeled a black and white dress made from recycled book pages, and she is planning a school fashion show on June 1, featuring recycled fashions. She laughed as she explained that she was wearing pages from “Strange Neighbors,” a book she had but didn’t plan to read.

A major emphasis of the event was the “Walk-Bike-Take Public Transit to Work Day” competition. Healthy Enfield and the Town of Enfield encouraged all residents to use alternate means of transportation for the celebration day. Participants entered their name and distance traveled in a drawing at the event.

Gift cards to Dick’s Sporting Goods and a cycling shop were awarded to Stan Schapiro, who rode his bike the furthest - 32 miles one way. A Northampton, Mass., resident, Schapiro planned his route on Google and drove it before heading out early Friday morning.

“I thought it would be more dangerous than it was,” he said. “I saw a lot more than I’ve ever noticed before.”

Beth Mangan and Cheryl Shepherd also rode bikes to their offices at Educational Resources for Children. Shepherd had a 6.5-mile roundtrip journey, while Mangan, who lives in South Windsor, trekked 20 miles roundtrip on two flat tires, a discovery she made too late to turn around.

The Enfield Clean Energy Committee and the Conservation Committee teamed up to showcase other environmentally-friendly options, including a solar oven and information on using and purchasing rain barrels to harvest rainwater. Johnson Memorial Hospital collected eyeglasses for the Lions Club, Connecticut Light and Power provided information on reducing energy costs, and Youth Services held a fundraiser. The town also gave away small bags of compost from town leaves collected over the past two years and held a drawing for a compost bin.

Diane Tapp of Encore Deezines Landscaping was on hand for a tree planting demonstration on the green, where she and town employees planted a Kousa dogwood. The Earth Day Celebration culminated with a Zumba class to promote health and fitness.

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