By CHARITY SMITH
MERCER, Wis. — The Mercer Public Library Earth Day exhibition returns to the Mercer Community Center on Saturday after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This exhibition provides an opportunity for people to learn about Earth-friendly opportunities and organizations in society.
More than 100 people attended the event, which included 14 vendors and featured a virtual presentation from April Hepokoski, founder of Duluth’s Zero-Waste Facebook page. He talks about how to reduce environmental impact by living a zero-waste life. Hepokoski also blogs at Zero-Waste Nature School, and is a contributing writer for the book Zero-Waste Kids edited by Rob Greenfield.
Librarian Teresa Schmidt said many people seemed very interested in Hepokoski’s advice and one patron suggested libraries look at leaving zero waste.
Some of the other participating organizations include the Mercer Leo Club, University of Wisconsin-Madison Iron County Extension, Mercer Seed Library, Wolverine Nordic Trails, North Lakeland Discovery Center, Northwoods Wildlife & Wetlands Club, North Country National Scenic Trail’s Heritage Chapter, Wisconsin Department of Resources. Natural Resources, Iron County Department of Soil and Water Conservation, Woods and Blooms Garden Club, Iron County Outdoor Recreation Enthusiasts (ICORE), Loony Paddlers and MECCA Trails.
“I thought it was a great event,” said Schmidt. “I am very happy with the turnout. Organizations really go out of their way to bring things up to help explain what they do. It was a very positive event.”
Many of the booths featured eco-friendly activities and crafts for children. Members of the Woods & Blooms Garden Club dress as bees as they help children plant flower seeds in plastic cups and decorate them with cut flowers and bees as Mother’s Day gifts. Wisconsin DNR officials brought in several activity books for kids to complete throughout the summer to get a patch. They also asked the children to write some Earth-friendly ideas on leaves, in an attempt to form a tree on the wall.
Mercer School art students, under the direction of Craig Griffin, created an Earth Day t-shirt design earlier this month as part of a contest sponsored by Friends of the Library and the winner was recognized during the exhibition. Competing in age group, top designs made by Braea Zimmerman, first class; Hadleigh Dufrane, second grade; Stella Thompson, fifth grade; Brooklyn Kussard, fifth grade; Kaylee Powers, seventh grade; and Eureka Scalla, seventh grade. Their artwork is judged on their Earth Day message, quality of design, and their originality and creativity.
The Librarian’s Choice Award went to Josephine Galloway, fourth grade. Schmidt says that while all of his designs are good, Galloway’s designs “just stand.” Galloway’s design is a pair of hands holding the earth.
“I thought the Earth Day Fair was a great community gathering that gave local organizations and attendees the opportunity to share information and ideas,” said Beth Wetzler, president of the Friends of the Mercer Public Library.
Schmidt said the library’s next big event would be a book sale at the end of May. He said they had already collected book donations for the event.