Guests spend Earth Day at Eco Barn

Nearly 200 people visited the Eco Barn on Earth Day, April 22, to enjoy the spring sun, buy early vegetable plant seedlings and participate in diverse activities while being serenaded by the local Café Ceili and Fairtown Ramblers bands.

On the grounds, children of all ages played time-honored games like potato sack races and carry-the-rock-on-the spoon under the spell of pied piper Ken Daley. Later, they were led on the Magic Trail by Bob Ferguson, director of the Sustainable Living Coalition, which, along with Southeast Iowa Sierra Club, sponsored the event.

Over 40 people took the tours of Abundance EcoVillage led by Michael Havelka and saw firsthand how wind and solar energy is generated and distributed in the environmentally conscious community. Two homes of different designs were open to view.

Faith Reeve?s outside spring gardening workshop prompted attention and questions about growing organic vegetables successfully.

Inside the newly refurbished Eco Barn, the monarch butterfly workshop led by Carole Simmons, Marcia Hansen and Mariah Wellman elicited many thought-provoking questions about how people can help monarchs survive the pesticides used on farmlands. A free native butterfly weed plant, a form of milkweed needed by monarchs, was given to participants along with a native prairie plant catalog.

Next to the butterfly exhibit, children and adults created quilt squares, drawing and painting them as part of Stacey Hurlin?s Quilts That Unite Us international art project led on that day by JoBeth Lewer.

The quilt squares will be artistically combined into a large quilt with Care for the Earth as its theme.