By Monique Harrison
Several Earth Day events are slated for this weekend and Monday, when the 26-year-old celebration designed to promote environmental conservation will be observed.
Tupelo High School will be sponsoring a daylong fair Monday at the Tupelo Coliseum. The event will begin at 10 a.m. and continue through 6 p.m.
High school students have prepared booths with environmental themes. Elementary students from across Tupelo and Lee County will be visiting the coliseum, touring the booths.
“We have a lot of games set up at the booths, where students will hear mini-lessons and then answer questions,” said Tupelo High junior Jonathan Shackelford, who is one of about 500 students expected to help pull off the event. “They’ll have a chance to win candy and other prizes if they know the answers, so it will be a real incentive. I think the students will learn a lot about how to preserve our environment.”
Coordinators expect one of the most popular booths to be the mini-petting zoo, which will feature two Bengal Tigers on loan from their Booneville owner. A chinchilla, a spiny mouse, iguana, turtles, frogs and tarantulas will also be featured.
“Our goal here is for younger students to learn about environmental issues like recycling and other forms of conservation,” said Tupelo High science teacher Lisa Moore. “It’s also teaching our students some very practical skills, like how to work together and how to work with the public.”
Several high school students will serve as tour guides throughout the day, accompanying groups of students to the booths.
The 3-year-old event is normally held at the high school’s practice field. But because the size of the program has expanded, it was moved to the coliseum.
“Trash Bash” set
The Mississippi Department of Transportation is sponsoring a statewide “Trash Bash” for the eighth year in conjunction with Earth Day.
The weeklong event that starts Sunday will involve both volunteers and DOT work crews.
“We’re asking all of our people who have adopted sections of highway to try and pick up that section during the week,” said Northern District Highway Commissioner Zack Stewart. “Also, in each county our work crews will take one day and pick up litter next week.”
Last year, about 5,820 people participated in the event and collected 24,372 bags of trash. Stewart said he did not have a breakdown of how many people took part in the Northern District or how many bags of trash were collected in the district.
Litter cost the state $870,593 last year in employee hours to collect 396,387 cubic feet of trash, according to the DOT. That figure does not include litter picked up by Adopt-A-Highway groups, Department of Corrections inmates or contract mowing services.
Anyone wishing to participate in the DOT trash pickup can do so by contacting the district office of the DOT in Tupelo at 842-1122 or by adopting a section of highway.
The Adopt-A-Highway program allows individuals or groups to adopt 2-mile sections of state highways and take responsibility for keeping those sections clean. There are currently 1,399 adopted sections of state highway totaling 3,033 miles.
Ole Miss’ Earthfest ’96
The University of Mississippi’s Earthfest ’96 will feature information booths, concessions, children’s activities and performances by several area bands. The free public event will begin at noon and continue through midnight in the Grove.
From noon until dark, educational children’s activities will be held. Live music will begin at 1:30 p.m. with a performance by the Memphis bluegrass band Sugarfoot. At 10:30 p.m., the Memphis group Gutbucket will close out the event. Country, alternative and jazz music will also be featured.
Earthfest ’96 also serves as a kickoff for the university’s campuswide recycling campaign.
Daily Journal staff writer Marty Russell contributed to this report.