With help from GreenToppers, Earth Day Festival growing

Joleen Stone, a member of the Bowling Green Community Farmers Market, sells wool dryer balls and wool soap during the Earth Day festival at Centennial Mall Friday. The wool dryer balls help reduce static electricity and soften clothes, and the wool on the soap acts like a scrubber to rid hands of dirt and grime.

Michael McKay

Centennial Mall exploded with booths, art, people and giveaways during the sixth annual Earth Day Festival on Friday.

Sustainability Coordinator Christian Ryan-Downing said she had a hard time believing she’s been involved with so many Earth Days.

“I was like, ‘Has it really been the sixth year?’” Ryan-Downing said.

The WKU GreenToppers have been organizing the event since early February.

Ryan-Downing she was proud of the work of the GreenToppers.

“All of the feedback I got from participants has been very good,” Ryan-Downing said.

Sara Ferguson, Recycling and Surplus coordinator and GreenTopper staff adviser, said she and the GreenToppers were pleasantly surprised with the turnout, which Ryan-Downing said was at least 400 people.

“We were also surprised about the amount of vendors that came, because we had a lot signed up, but we weren’t sure they would all show up,” Ferguson said.

In addition to vendors, such as Fruit of the Loom and Chaney’s Dairy Barn, some of the booths were clubs that were looking to sign up others with similar interests.

Lacey Jackson, marketing and graphic artist for the WKU Store, said the store has been there since the very first Earth Day.

“There’s been a little variation between,” Jackson said. “I think every year it gets a little bigger, but then it just varies.”

Jackson remembered that the store tried very hard to be involved during the first Earth Day festival.

“I think as far as the bookstore, we really didn’t know what to do — we really wanted to be involved,” Jackson said of the first Earth Day. “Anything that had the word ‘recycle’ on it, or anything remotely sustainable, I was like pulling off the sales rack.”

Jackson was there Friday with the WKU Store passing out water bottles to people who agreed not to buy bottled water.

Owensboro junior Mary Newton and Bowling Green junior John Clark, both members of the newly-formed Ecology Club, had a booth set up to recruit new members.

“We’ve just kind of been slowly starting up, building a foundation for ourselves on campus,” Newton said.

Clark said the club, which started in 2010, has started working with Mammoth Cave to organize canoe trips and bald eagle surveys.

“Everyone who has gone has seen at least one immature or adult bald eagle,” Clark said. “Most people have seen multiples of each.”

Newton said the club is mainly made up of biology majors but is open to anyone who likes to be outside.

Fort Knox sophomore Sean Stanley worked a booth selling rocks and jewelry for the Geology club.

Stanley said the money from the sale would raise money for club events.

“Most people just look, but that’s okay as long as you get intrigued,” Stanley said.

Stanley said anyone could the join the club — as long as they like two things:

“The appreciation of rocks and beer,” he said with a laugh.

Evansville senior Katie Stubbs, a GreenTopper, said she isn’t really sure what the group’s next move will be.

“Probably we’re just going to meet after this and kind of die down, make some notes, see what went well and plan our next event,” she said.