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Events highlight significance of green holiday
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Earth Craft Week
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Friday
Where: Interactive Neighborhood for Kids, 999 Chestnut St., Gainesville
How much: $8 adults, $8 children for museum admission; $1 for craft
More info: 770-536-1900

Earth Day celebration
Events include: Fashion show, plant sale, organic food, live music, opportunities to recycle electronics, bring toys and jewelry to test for lead, learn how to check oil and air in tires to make your car run more efficiently.
When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today
Where: Piedmont College, 165 Central Ave., Demorest
How much: Free
More info: 706-778-3000, ext. 1152

Weatherization Open House
When: 3-5 p.m. today
Where: Featherbone Communiversity, 999 Chestnut St., Gainesville
How much: Free
More info: 770-535-9220

Hall County Recycling Center Open House
When: 3-5 p.m. today
Where: Hall County Recycling Center, 1008 Chestnut St. SE, Gainesville
How much: Free
More info: 770-535-8274 or

Earth Day 2010 panel discussion
"Happiness: Beauty, Faith, Economics and Ecology"
When: 7-8:30 p.m. tonight
Where: First Baptist Church of Gainesville banquet hall, 751 Green St. NW, Gainesville
How much: Free

Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper
What: An organization that works to protect the Chattahoochee River, its tributaries and watershed
How to donate: Go to to find links for how to volunteer or donate, or send contributions to Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, 615F Oak St., Suite 1000, Gainesville.
More info: 770-531-1064

Before it was hip to be green, Earth Day was declared a national holiday in 1970. Forty years later, Northeast Georgians are finding new ways to celebrate the day that reminds us to be better environmental stewards. Here are what some residents are doing — and a few ways you can participate.

Irina Burlack, 19, a freshman at Brenau University in Gainesville, recently helped organize a presentation at the school that focused on water conservation.

"We have different projects, and my group decided to do a whole presentation on the conservation of water," Burlack said.

Bonney Putney of Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper spoke at the event, highlighting "how much water is spent (to create) different products," Burlack said, and how students can "choose products that do not use as much water to create."

Burlack said other ways to conserve water include installing low-flow toilets, taking shorter showers and using a larger load when washing clothes.

If you want to help the cause of Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, an organization that works to protect the Chattahoochee River, its tributaries and watershed, Burlack said you can pitch in by donating, volunteering or "even write them to say thank you."

Students at Piedmont College in Demorest also are getting involved this Earth Day, with an event scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today.

Katie Clements, a sophomore at Piedmont, helped organize the event. "We have a bunch of really exciting events planned," she said.

The most popular element of the event will likely be the arrival of some bovine visitors.

"We’re bringing real, organic show cattle out on the quad as a show for organic beef, because these cows have never been exposed to any kind of chemicals," Clements said.

Clements also will perform at the event, along with several other live bands. "I’m part of a group that’s going to be performing ‘Big Yellow Taxi,’" she said.

Other highlights of the Earth Day event include a trash fashion show, with Piedmont art and theater students as the designers and clothes made from materials like cardboard, duct tape, newspapers and recycled items.

"We’re doing carbon footprinting in our library here, the Arrendale Library, and we’re doing presentations on our wetlands up here at the college, because there’s all kinds of species of birds and salamanders and turtles and that kind of thing that live in there," Clements said, adding that the event will be open to everyone, not just college students.

You can learn how to save energy by weatherizing your home or office at the Lanier Technical College Manufacturing Development Center Weatherization Open House, 3-5 p.m. today at Featherbone Communiversity in Gainesville.

Carroll Turner, director of the center, said instructor Tim Bala will use a model house to demonstrate techniques.

"There’s a model house that’s 12-by-12 built in there, and you can seal it, you can unseal it, you can run fans, and it shows them all the different things you can do (to weatherize)," Turner said, adding that the open house also will include information on solar panels and "how to make things more energy efficient."

After you’ve learned about weatherization, you can walk over to Interactive Neighborhood for Kids, also located at Featherbone Communiversity, where kids can learn about recycling.

Jenny Mask, art program coordinator at INK, said kids can stop by between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. today and Friday to make a butterfly from household materials.

A panel discussion, scheduled for 7-8:30 tonight at First Baptist Church of Gainesville’s banquet hall, will be led by the church’s pastor, the Rev. Bill Coates, along with Brenau University president Ed Schrader and Robin Gottfried, the Executive Director of the Center for Religion and Environment at Sewanee: The University of the South.

The discussion, "Happiness: Beauty, Faith, Economics and Ecology," will focus on "the underlying roots of happiness found in sustainable living, spirituality and science."

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