Earth Day Coalition's EarthFest 2016

Blog Date
Julie Smith
Stuart O. Smith, Jr.

Earth Day Coalition's EarthFest 2016

We were excited to learn that Earth Day Coalition's EarthFest 2016 (@EarthDay_CLE) would take place on April 17th, the Sunday before Earth Day 2016 (April 22nd). We had a great time last year at EarthFest 2015, and were looking forward to attending again this year!

Here are the official details from Earth Day Coalition's website:

Join Earth Day Coalition for EarthFest 2016 at Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds on Sunday, April 17 from 10-5. Celebrate the Year of Clean Transportation at Ohio's largest environmental education event and the longest running Earth Day celebration in the nation. EarthFest will feature over 270 exhibitors in 8 exhibit areas including Clean Transportation, Clean Water, Community Works, Environmental & Energy Science, Family Fun, Green Home & Garden, Health & Fitness and Local & Sustainable Food.

What made it even more fun this year is that while we were promoting the event on Twitter via @sos_jr, we ended up winning tickets from @GCRTA to attend the event!

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Retweet to win EarthFest 2016 tickets!

Winner! EarthFest 2016 tickets!

Won tickets to EarthFest 2016 from Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority - RTA!
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Thank you, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority - RTA!

It is said that "every day is Earth Day," but it is celebrated each year around the world on April 22nd. Learn more on the Earth Day Network website and by following: @EarthDayNetwork


EarthFest 2016 - What We Learned

Please see our blog post from last year's EarthFest 2015 to learn about our long history with this event, and most importantly, information on how to make a "Zero Waste" event (really, please take a moment and learn about this idea to reduce event waste).

What we want to do this year, in addition to showing our photos from the event, is to share just some of the many things we learned at the Earth Day Coalition's EarthFest 2016.



Our EarthFest 2016 Photos:

If your device does not support photos/videos,
please view them here.



1) Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds Wind Turbine and Renewable Energy Project

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Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds Wind Turbine Project
Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds Wind TurbineCuyahoga County Fairgrounds Wind Turbine Display

We are fortunate that our fairgrounds, Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds (@CuyFair), has the largest educational display of any other county in the nation concerning renewable energy. Learn more at:

FairWinds Turbine Project

The Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds Wind Turbine, Solar Array and Met Tower projects invite the curious to explore and will inspire in young and old alike to develop the kind of forward-thinking, analytical skills that will spur Ohioans to engage in the "greening" of America, and benefit from the emergence of environmentally conscious industries.


2) Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve (CLNP)

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Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve (CLNP)
Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve (CLNP) Field Guide

We have enjoyed hiking at the Port of Cleveland's (@PortOfCleveland) Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve (CLNP) a couple of times, so we thought it was great that Field Guides for the area were being given away.

Here are Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve links and information from their website:

The Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve (CLNP) is an 88-acre man-made peninsula on the Lake Erie shoreline in the heart of Cleveland. It offers a 1.75-mile Perimeter Loop Trail, and the .25-mile Monarch and .5 Northern Harrier Trails which bisect the preserve. Over time, researchers and other visitors have identified more than 280 species of birds, 42 species of butterflies, 16 species of mammals (including red fox, coyote, mink, and deer), 2 species of reptiles, 26 Ohio plant species (including wildflowers and grasses) and 9 species of trees and shrubs. The diverse mix of habitats includes grasslands, a forest area, meadows, mudflats, shrub lands, and wetlands. The Port of Cleveland welcomes visitors to hike, enjoy migratory bird sightings, and check out the prime views of Lake Erie and the downtown skyline.

The Port of Cleveland is working to facilitate educational opportunities at the preserve and to develop a master plan that would lead to both the replacement of invasive and non-native plants and the creation in phases of diverse habitat areas that would improve the preserve’s value to wildlife and people.



3) Buckeye Trail Association & Buckeye TrailFest

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Buckeye Trail Association
Follow The Blue Blazes

We have known about the Buckeye Trail Association (@HikeTheBT) for a long time, having hiked on sections of the Buckeye Trail. We have also attended workshops with past thru-hikers of the Buckeye Trail at the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association - ALDHA (@ALDHAeast).

We were fortunate to meet the Buckeye Trail Association (BTA) president, Connie Pond, at EarthFest 2016, and learn more from her about the trail and BTA's May 12-15, 2016, Buckeye TrailFest. We are so lucky in Ohio to have the longest continuous trail in any one state --- the Buckeye Trail!

Connie told us that the movie, Trail Magic: The Grandma Gatewood Story, will be shown on May 13, 2016, at the Buckeye TrailFest. Go to the program web page for information about the weekend's activities. Here is what they wrote about Trail Magic: The Grandma Gatewood Story:

Trail Magic: The Grandma Gatewood Story - Bette Lou Higgins
Six years in the making, this documentary about Ohio’ legendary hiker and one of the founders of the Buckeye Trail premiered to rave reviews! Emma’s great-granddaughter, Marjorie Wood, wrote, “The premier of the PBS documentary was much more than I could imagine! ... Anne McEvoy did an amazing job portraying Grandma... Now, Grandma’s story can been seen by a new generation of people."

People who are not registered for TrailFest can attend for a $5.00 fee.

If you don't know who Grandma Gatewood was, please read on....

She was from Ohio and was the first woman to solo hike the Appalachian Trail (over 2000 miles) end-to-end, at the age of 67 in 1955. She was also the first person to hike the Appalachian Trail three times.

Since she was from Ohio and a founding member of the Buckeye Trail Association, a section of the Buckeye Trail is is called the Grandma Gatewood Trail in her honor. The "Grandma Gatewood" entry on Wikipedia states:

At Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio, the North Country TrailBuckeye Trail, and the American Discovery Trail coincide and a six-mile section is designated as the Grandma Gatewood Trail. It connects Old Man's Cave to Cedar Falls to Ash Cave.

We are members of the Appalachian Trail Museum (@AppTrailMuseum), which inducted Emma Rowena “Grandma” Gatewood into their hall of fame in 2012. We also belong to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (@AT_Conservancy), which features Grandma Gatewood on their website as a Noteworthy 2,000-Miler.



4) Cuyahoga County Solid Waste Management District

The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste Management District (@RecycleCuyahoga) had a great display at EarthFest 2016 on what can and cannot be recycled. We are fortunate in our county to have a system that makes it easy to recycle.

Please see our following EarthFest 2016 photos on how to recycle, and learn more on their "What Do I Do With?" web page.

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Items to recycle!
Don't put these in curbside recycling Items to recycle!



5) Junior Solar Sprint Project

Solar Cars for the Junior Solar SprintJunior Solar SprintWanted: Middle School Teacher - Junior Solar Sprint Project

In the youth section of EarthFest 2016, we met a middle school student who was explaining how he and his fellow students were building and racing small solar cars. We then met his instructor, Kurt Thonnings (@KurtThonnings), who invited us to learn more on the wiki he maintains at:

All the details about the Wednesday, May 18, 2016, Solar Sprint at Cleveland State University (@CLE_State) can be found on this Junior Solar Sprint Race Press Release PDF:

Junior Solar Sprint Race Press Release
Read the
Junior Solar Sprint Race
Press Release PDF

In addition to Kurt Thonnings's Wiki, the press release and event details can also be found on the Sustainable Cleveland (@sustainableCLE) "Junior Solar Sprint Race" event calendar listing.

Kurt Thonnings also has some instructional videos at:

Kurt's Junior Solar Sprint -Guidance system basics video:



6) 2016 American Solar Challenge starts in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Both the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (@CVNPNPS) and the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park (@ConservancyCVNP) had interesting booths at EarthFest 2016, presenting all the great things happening in our national park, which is located between Cleveland and Akron.

Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park

But it was what we learned from Kurt Thonnings (@KurtThonnings) at his booth and from @CVNPNPS' tweet after the event that we want to share here.

The National Park Service Midwest Region (@MidwestNPS) is hosting the American Solar Challenge in 2016 and it will start at our very own Cuyahoga Valley National Park!

Midwest Region National Parks to Host the American Solar Challenge in 2016


Midwest Region to Host the American Solar Challenge in 2016
Solar car rally will visit nine parks during the centennial

The National Park Service Midwest Region is partnering with the Innovators Educational Foundation to showcase science innovation by hosting the 2016 American Solar Challenge.University teams from around the world will design and build solar-powered cars, and then drive them 1,800 miles on the open road, visiting 9 Midwest parks in 7 states.

Visitors will be invited to see the cars and enjoy park activities, including a traveling exhibit and other special programs.This 8-day centennial event will take place from July 30 to August 6, 2016.


The American Solar Challenge will begin at Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio on July 30, 2016 and end in Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota on August 6, 2016.Midway stops include Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, George Rogers Clark National Historical Park, Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, Wilson's Creek National Battlefield, Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, Homestead National Monument of America, and Scotts Bluff National Monument. More information is available on the American Solar Challenge website.

Go to the National Park Service Midwest Region American Solar Challenge in 2016 web page and read this informational brochure on solar-powered cars with more details:

Going Green in 2016. Solar-Powered Cars Rally in the National Parks
Read the 
Solar-Powered Cars Rally
in the National Parks PDF




7) NASA Glenn Research Center Public Open Houses

NASA Glenn Research Center Public Open Houses
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If you are interested in NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration - @NASA) like we are, then be sure to mark your calenadar for the NASA Glenn Research Center Public Open Houses:

We have been watching the exciting details on this must-attend event ever since blogger Alicia Hansen (@AliciaMHansen) shared the Cleveland Scene (@ClevelandScene) article entitled NASA Glenn Research Center Celebrates 75 Years With an Open House in her tweet back in March!

Watch for details on Twitter using the #NASAglenn75 hashtag, and on the NASA Glenn Research Center (@NASAglenn) website via this short URL:



8) Drink Local Drink Tap - 4 Miles 4 Water

An African woman carries at least five gallons of water a day!
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Finally, we want to give a special shout-out to Drink Local Drink Tap (@DrinkLocalTap) for their great work in Cleveland and Africa.

We met Erin Huber (@ErinDeeHuber) at an event a few years ago, and got reintroduced to her important work recently at some environmental events we wrote about (see our Earth Day Coalition EarthFest 2015 blog post and our 2014 Visiting Wally Waterdrop - NEORSD Open House post).

On March 24, 2016, Stuart also met some of Drink Local Drink Tap's board members, volunteers, and other interested people at their Back From Africa Party at the Jukebox (@JukeboxCLE). At this event, Erin shared her recent experiences in Africa, and talked to Stuart about how it connects to the water education program in Cleveland. Please learn more by watching (and sharing) these videos in which Erin talks about Drink Local Drink Tap's work in Cleveland and Africa.



(The videos above can be shared on Twitter by retweeting. You can also share on Facebook here.)

Third Annual 4 Miles 4 Water - Saturday, May 7th, 2016
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Learn more about Drink Local Drink Tap, and join them in trying to set a Guinness World Record at their big event on May 7, 2016:

Third Annual 4 Miles 4 Water - Saturday, May 7th, 2016Third Annual 4 Miles 4 Water Saturday, May 7th, 2016

In 2014, Drink Local. Drink Tap., Inc. hosted our first 4 Miles 4 Water event in partnership with Cleveland Metro parks and Pure Water Technology. Over 1500 people joined us at Edgewater Park to run, walk, make friends and break a Guinness World Record! The day began with 508 people walking with a water bottle on their head to break the record previously set. This was followed by a 4-mile fun run/walk, where many participants ran the last mile carrying jerrycans full of water. The event included water education stations, food trucks crowd, and an evening concert featuring Carlos Jones and The Plus Band. We had a great time raising over $60,000 for Drink Local. Drink Tap., Inc.’s programs. In 2015, we knocked it out of the park again thanks to YOU and raised $70,000, introduced a virtual running option and made our All Things Water Festival bigger and better!




Be sure to follow both @DrinkLocalTap and @4Miles4Water year-round for updates, and the #4M4W2016 hashtag for what is happening in 2016. Also, like them on Facebook at:



In addtion to the eight groups we focused on in the blog post, there were many more that we talked to, and even more environmental experts at the event that we did not have time to see.  We highly recommend that you attend future Earth Day Coalition's EarthFests to learn more about environmental resources in our community.


Tweets & Retweets

Please take time to scroll through the following tweets from Earth Day Coalition's EarthFest 2016. They will provide you with additional information about the event.  Please share those that you find interesting by retweeting them.

Please scroll through these EarthFest 2016 tweets


Earth Day Coalition's EarthFest 2016 Community Partners & Sponsors

Many people and organizations worked to make this EarthFest 2016 a success. We want to thank the sponsors for the fun day, and mention the community partners' year-round good work. We are familiar with all of these community partners from other events that we have attended.

The community partners are:

Earth Day Coalition's EarthFest 2016 Community Partners
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  • Bike Cleveland (@Bike_CLE)


    We are the 501(c)(3) advocacy non-profit for people on bikes in the Greater Cleveland area. Representing over 700 due paying members and more than 25 local businesses, we make sure that any time the conversation turns to transportation — that people on bikes are being considered alongside people in cars. We work to improve policy, infrastructure, and legislation to help make our roads places that serve people and communities, not just traffic. Our efforts are broad, and we have achieved a lot in our short history. If you care about sustainable and equitable transportation, join the movement!

  • Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA)  (@NOACA_MPO)

    What is NOACA?

    The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) is a transportation and environmental planning agency serving Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain and Medina counties. NOACA:

    • Is the federally designated metropolitan planning organization for northeast Ohio, and is charged with determining which proposed highway, bikeway and transit projects will receive federal funding.
    • Works with the Ohio Department of Transportation, project sponsors and other organizations to help address northeast Ohio’s transportation, air quality, and water quality needs.
    • Conducts metropolitan planning for vehicles, freight, transit, bicycle, pedestrian, etc., while considering the transportation system’s impact on the environment and land use.
    • Prepares the region’s long-range transportation plan and short range transportation improvement program, which is the capital budget for federally funded transportation projects.
    • Conducts studies that address congestion, improve safety and strengthen community livability.
    • Is directed by a 45-member Board of Directors, plus Standing CommitteesTask Forces and Advisory Councils.
    • Employs a diverse staff of planners, engineers, GIS specialists, accountants, IT professionals, and communications and support specialists.
  • Ohio City Bicycle Co-op (@OhioCityCycles)

    "The mission of the Ohio City Bicycle Co-op (OCBC) is to promote the use of bicycles in greater Cleveland and engage area youth and adults in cycling activities that foster independence, resourcefulness, and good health. The OCBC works to accomplish this by offering safe cycling and bike repair education, Earn A Bike programs, and a consumer's cooperative bike shop; by providing dependable used bikes and accessories; and by producing cycling events and tours that impart skills while encouraging riding for fun, fitness and practical transportation."

    In 2006 the OCBC trustees approved this "working mission statement" to describe what we do:

    "Help people use bicycles."

  • Rust Belt Riders Composting (@RustBeltRiders)

    Here is a Startup Elevator Pitch: Rust Belt Riders video provided by JumpStart, Inc. (@JumpStartInc):

    Did you know that roughly 40% of all food grown in the United States is never eaten? Rust Belt Riders helps to capture wasted food and put it towards its highest and best use all while helping support our local food system.

    Rust Belt Riders is a company dedicated to creating wealth from waste. We strive to create well paying jobs in communities that have seen decades of divestment and offer an alternative model for how companies operate and support the communities across Northeast Ohio.

  • Sustainable Cleveland 2019 (@sustainableCLE)

    What is Sustainable Cleveland?

    Living and growing as a sustainable city will ensure Cleveland’s longevity. Beginning in 2009, Sustainable Cleveland 2019 is a 10-year initiative that engages everyone to work together to design and develop a thriving and resilient Cleveland that leverages its wealth of assets to build economic, social and environmental well-being for all.

Here is a PDF file with a listing of all of Earth Day Coalition's EarthFest 2016 Community Partners & Sponsors. Please note that this PDF file includes links to many of the sponsors' websites where you can learn more about them.

Earth Day Coalition's EarthFest 2016 Community Partners & Sponsors


Related Blog Posts

Here are some related blog posts that we have written that you might find interesting:

Please see additional blog posts at: