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A Celebration of Nature at the NAPS Earth Day Festival

A beautiful and calm day greeted hundreds of visitors to the 8th Annual Earth Day Festival in Heathsville, Saturday, April 15, 2023, with dozens of exhibits, demonstrations, displays and activities. The event was free and open to the public.

Hosted by NAPS (Northumberland Association 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. Each person who made a pledge was offered a complimentary NAPS reusable grocery bag.

Members of Drive Electric RVA traveled from the Richmond area to anchor the festival with a display of six all-electric cars of different makes and models. Owners answered questions about EV travel and ownership.

The Northern Neck Electric Cooperative returned this year with its display comparing the energy use of LED and incandescent light bulbs of the same brightness. It also showcased other environmental and energy-saving programs.

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.

The Northern Neck Beekeepers Club educated visitors on the benefits of bees and beekeeping, including honey and beeswax products. Its display included a live bee hive with an observation window.

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.

Northern Neck Master Gardeners promoted their Shoreline Evaluation Program – a community service initiative informing waterfront property owners about shoreline protection and stabilization options. The program recommends installing and maintaining “living shorelines” whenever possible due to the environmental benefits.

The Northern Neck Land Conservancy shared the environmental and tax benefits of placing land into a conservation easement, preserving its beauty and ecological value in perpetuity. Its annual Boots & Barbecue event is scheduled for September 30, 2023, at historic Mount Zion Farm in Lottsburg, VA.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby returned this year to inform and engage visitors on their efforts to build support in Congress for a national bipartisan solution to climate change.

Northern Neck Soil & Water Conservation District returned this year promoting the stewardship of natural resources by offering educational materials and technical assistance.

TOGA (Tidewater Oyster Gardeners Association) featured its familiar tank demonstrating how oysters filter the water. Visitors to the exhibit also learned about classes on oyster gardening in Virginia and how to purchase spat, growing cages and other materials.

The Northumberland County Anti-Litter Committee urged visitors to create or join Adopt-A-Highway groups, and informed them on the committee’s initiatives, including its “Free Tire Disposal” event to collect and recycle discarded tires Saturday, April 29.

The NAPS tent displayed several recent initiatives, including its campaign to reduce the use of disposable plastic straws and grocery bags. Visitors were invited to join its cleanup events and projects.

Martha Tallent reinforced the anti-litter theme donning a “Duchess of the Ditches” robe covered with discarded bottles, cans and bags, and topped with a trash-laden crown.

“A wonderful day all around! We sincerely thank all the exhibitors for their fun and informative displays, and we thank everyone who stopped by,” said Mike Ahart of NAPS. “Please put April 20, 2024 on your calendars for the 9th Annual Earth Day Festival, and we hope to see you all there.”


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