Much to Do, See and Learn at Northwest Indiana Earth Day Event

Connecting with the environment is what 11th Annual Northwest Indiana Earth Day Celebration is all about. The free event this Saturday April 16th at the Porter County Expo Center features a variety of exhibitors, entertainment and activities. The Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County’s Public Education Coordinator Donna Stuckert told the Region News Team it’s also an opportunity to bring used eye glasses, hearing aids and bicycles to be recycled and given to people in need.  Things to do and see also include a school rain barrel design contest, birdhouse building, Dumpster Drummers and an alternative fuel vehicle display, and an art contest featuring entries made entirely of recycled materials. The District says the first 300 families will receive a complimentary reusable bag. You can hear more from Donna Stuckert at News Audio on Demand here at our website.

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Porter County Expo Center, 215 E. Division Rd., Valparaiso. Admission and parking for the event are free.

Attendees are encouraged to bring used eyeglasses, hearing aids and bicycles to the Celebration, as two non-profit groups are sponsoring collections. The collection for eyeglasses and hearing aids is new this year, backed by the Lions Clubs of District 25A. The clubs recycle these items to change the lives of people in need.

Working Bikes will be back for a second year to top last year’s collection total of 80 bicycles. Attendees who are spring cleaning their garages can donate those unused bikes that are collecting dust. Working Bikes, a Chicago organization, refurbishes and gives bicycles to people in third world countries and to people in transition in Chicago.

The service of document shredding will return after a year hiatus. Visitors can bring their old documents to the Celebration between 9 a.m. and noon to be shredded by Secure Shred.

Shredding will not occur on site; instead, thanks to the staff from Metro Recycling, documents will be confidentially collected and transported to Opportunity Enterprises for destruction. Each attendee is asked to limit material to be shredded to two boxes.

Kathy Sipple, founder of CoThrive.org, an online community, and the host of the award-winning podcast 219 GreenConnect, will present “What is a timebank?” and show residents how to get involved at 9:30 a.m. on stage.

A timebank is a network of people that have agreed to earn and spend hours to meet the needs of friends, neighbors and the larger community. Participants contribute or “bank” hours, presenting their offerings and talents for other members to request.

Stage shows this year also include Silly Safaris live animal shows at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

“Something ‘Pinteresting’” hands-on activities are planned by the team of the Lake County Solid Waste Management District. Providing usable “stuff” from the ReUz Room in Hammond, the team invites visitors to join them as they direct do-it-yourself projects at both10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The team’s demonstrations shine a spotlight on the return of the Re-Think Art Competition and Exhibition, featuring artwork made out of 100 percent recycled materials. The public is asked to vote on their favorites, and the artists will win cash prizes.

Recycleman will make his Celebration debut. The recycling champion will help others learn how they can also become superheroes!

The School Rain Barrel Design Contest, birdhouse building, Dumpster Drummers and alternate fuel vehicle displays are all popular returning highlights for attendees to enjoy.

In addition, reordered and prepaid rain barrels will be available for pickup at the event  between 9 a.m. and noon. The last date to place an online order for these upcycled products was April 13. Online ordering is available at www.ItMeansTheWorld.org.

For a complete listing of programs and exhibitors, visit the Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County’s website, www.ItMeanstheWorld.org, or call 219-465-3819 for more information.