Celebrate Earth Day in New Paltz & Poughkeepsie

(Photo by Bruce Irving)

(Photo by Bruce Irving)

The 14th annual Earth Day Fair, slated for this Saturday at the Reformed Church of New Paltz on Huguenot Street, promises to be a fun-filled and thought-provoking event. Sponsored by a trio of concerned organizations – Interfaith Earth Action, the Caring for Creation Committee of the Reformed Church of New Paltz and the New Paltz Climate Action Coalition – the celebration will focus on changing-climate issues, along with ways to “think local” and “live green.”

Come hear talks by environmentally friendly individuals and groups who will share ways to care for the Earth and its inhabitants. Activities for kids are planned, and food will be available for purchase.

Entertainment will be family-oriented, including a terrific lineup of several favorite area music groups. Spirit of Thunderheart, the Tree-Huggers, Sherry Kitay with Gene and Tom Cotton, the Contemporary Music Group from St. Joseph’s Church, Chai Notes from the Jewish Congregation of New Paltz, Gideon’s Army, Rich Hines and the Hillbilly Drifters and Tulula! will perform on the church porch throughout the day. And at 1:40 p.m., there will be a special moment of sharing from the faith leaders in our surrounding community.

Linking various faith communities together, Interfaith Earth Action is a coalition of individuals from diverse backgrounds committed to addressing local environmental issues through grassroots action. The mission is to share information and take action that will conserve and support a sustainable, resilient local environment in the face of threats such as climate change. Members work collaboratively across diverse faith communities and ethical principles to express spirituality and core beliefs through community outreach, educational projects and calls for environmental action in New Paltz and neighboring areas.

Represented houses of worship include the Reformed Church of New Paltz, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church, Jewish Congregation of New Paltz, St. Augustine Catholic Church, New Paltz Friends Meeting, New Paltz United Methodist Church, Kol Hai Hudson Valley Jewish Renewal, Budding Flower (Buddhist) Sangha, Baha’i of the Hudson Valley, Schaghticoke First Nations, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Catskills and Wallkill Reformed Church.

“New members are always welcome,” says Jim O’Dowd of the Reformed Church of New Paltz. Citing the way that diverse groups came together back in the 1960s to work for civil rights for all, he notes that Interfaith Earth Action is open to all faiths, including people not affiliated with specific houses of worship. Meeting every other Wednesday at 7 p.m. at a rotating schedule of houses of worship, the group effectively crosses the boundaries of religious belief systems for the benefit of all. “The environment is not a partisan issue,” O’Dowd says. “This is not a liberal issue. What’s happening today with our environment is a real crisis. And if we don’t make changes, there will be catastrophic consequences. The fair is moving from its usual Sunday to a Saturday so that more houses of worship can participate, and we’re extending the hours this year.”

– Ann Hutton

Interfaith Action Annual Earth Day Fair, Saturday, April 16, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Reformed Church of New Paltz, 92 Huguenot Street, New Paltz; (845) 255-4170, [email protected], www.reformedchurchofnewpaltz.org/calendar.



Most of us don’t tend to look at cities as ecosystems, but they are. That’s the perspective that the Poughkeepsie Earth Day Committee is cultivating this month with a busy schedule of free public events, sponsored in partnership with the Environmental Cooperative at the Vassar Barns.

“Earth Day is about more than just one day a year,” says Jen Rubbo, manager of the Environmental Cooperative. “These events help us celebrate the nature that’s all around us as well as raise awareness of the challenges facing the environment.”

While Earth Day officially falls on April 22, Poughkeepsie’s focal celebration of its urban ecosystem – its communities, diversity and biodiversity – takes place this Saturday, April 16, coinciding with the Queen City Arts weekend. Earth Day festivities will take place on Main Street between Market and Academy Streets, and also at the Public Safety Building on Main between Clinton and Cherry Streets. Activities will include street puppets, a vintage bike sale and bike rodeo, hands-on workshops and a walking tour of public art in Poughkeepsie. For a complete listing of citywide events, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.facebook.com/poughkeepsie-earth-day-1012299282141587.

The Environmental Cooperative will kick off this weekend’s holistic hoopla by organizing an Invasive Vine Species Removal posse to help save trees at the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve. Invasive vine species such as Oriental bittersweet and porcelainberry can kill trees by wrapping around the trunk and “strangling” trees or by weighing canopies down until the trees fall over. The vine management operation takes place from 1 to 4 p.m. this Friday, April 15.

On Saturday morning from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, before the Earth Day street party gets underway, the Environmental Cooperative, the Middle Main Initiative and United Way of Dutchess County will team up to clean Main Street and parts of the Fall Kill. The cleanup crew will meet at Murphy Park, located at 517 Main Street in Poughkeepsie. To volunteer or find out more about either environmental stewardship event, call Vassar’s Environmental Cooperative at (845) 437-7435.

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