A Beautiful Day to Celebrate Nature at the NAPS Earth Day Festival

The 7th annual Earth Day Festival in Heathsville welcomed hundreds of visitors to enjoy dozens of exhibits, demonstrations, displays and activities Saturday, April 16, 2022. The event was free and open to the public.

Hosted by NAPS (Northumberland Assn. for Progressive Stewardship) and Rice’s Hotel/Hughlett’s Tavern in conjunction with the first Heathsville Farmers Market of the season, the eco-friendly event celebrated the Northern Neck’s natural beauty and showcased the area’s environmental stewardship resources.

At the entrance to the festival area, attendees were invited to add a “leaf” to the “Earth Day Pledge Tree” by writing down their individual pledges to help the environment this year. Each person who made a pledge was offered a complimentary NAPS reusable grocery bag. Young and old alike added a bit of art to the "Draw on Me" board.

NAPS’ Julie Hendrickson reinforced the anti-litter theme donning her “Duchess of the Ditches” robe covered with discarded bottles, cans and bags, and topped with a trash-laden crown.

The Northern Neck Electric Cooperative returned this year with its display showing how little energy LED light bulbs use compared to incandescent bulbs of the same brightness. It also showcased its Cooperative Sunshare program, allowing members to purchase blocks of solar-generated energy.

The Northumberland High School Physics Solar Lab exhibit demonstrated the components needed to convert energy from the sun into electricity. The NAPS-sponsored labs will be used year after year with new students to rebuild and reconfigure (see related article: Northumberland High School Students Build Solar Labs)

The Virginia Bluebird Society promoted its conservation and education projects, including establishing and supporting a statewide network of bluebird trails, nesting boxes and protection of bluebirds and other cavity nesters from predators.

The Northern Neck Master Naturalists promoted their program of training volunteers as educators, citizen scientists, and stewards helping Virginia conserve and manage natural resources and public lands. For more information about the courses and other outreach efforts, visit its website.

The Northern Neck Beekeepers Club educated visitors on the benefits of bees and beekeeping, including honey and beeswax products.

The Rappahannock Wildlife Refuge Friends’ impressive display of wildlife attracted both human and canine visitors. The organization’s mission is to raise awareness of the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge through education and support.