By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Green Connections, a non-profit organization dedicated to education about sustaining the health of the planet, will hold its Fourth Annual Earth Day Celebration from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., on Saturday, April 19 at Turtle Rock Farm, east of Billings, OK.
Turtle Rock Farm is a retreat for sustainability, spirituality and healing. The home of former governor and U.S. Senator Henry Bellmon, Turtle Rock is also a working farm run by Bellman’s daughters, Pat Hoerth and Ann McFerron.
“The Earth Day Festival is an educational event, and a celebration,” Hoerth said. “It’s a chance to be out in the natural world here on the prairie in north central Oklahoma. A time to pause and remember the Earth that sustains us, celebrate and thank the planet, and learn more about this amazing place we call home, as well as gain some ideas and support for living sustainably.”
Green Connections is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation committed to ecological education. Its mission is to help people connect with their natural home, get to know it more deeply so that they can learn to live more sustainably.
The event will include activities such as a Drum Circle with Dave Conrad, Cherokee Weaving with Renee Hoover, Alpaca Wool Spinning and Felting with Lisa Piccolo, and Making Seed Bombs with Transition OKC.
Shauna Lawyer Struby, Transitions OKC team member said, “We’re very excited to be working with Green Connections/Turtle Rock — terrific people and place. Partnering with Green Connections, TOKC will have a seed bomb station at the Earth Day event.”
According to Struby, seed balls, also known as seed bombs, are a method for distributing seeds by encasing them in a mixture of clay and compost. This protects the seeds by preventing them from drying out in the sun, getting eaten by birds, or blowing away.
“Seed bombs can be distributed anywhere and are perfect for so called ‘guerilla gardening’ projects where a gardener or organization may need an inexpensive, quick and low maintenance means of greening up an area of land or a vacant and unsightly lot,” Struby said.
Transition OKC uses seeds that are native to Oklahoma, non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) and have not been treated with any pesticides or herbicides.
“We selected seed varieties specifically to help bees and Monarch butterflies,” said Struby. “Both are pollinators crucial to human food production and are species that are struggling due to habitat loss and widespread pesticide and herbicide use.”
The Earth Day event will also showcase Bison hot dogs and corn on the cob, which people cook themselves, and music by George Davis and Friends.
Hoerth said, “The Earth Drumming Circle is always fun and Bruce Johnson’s solar demonstration is a big hit. This is the first time we’ve offered the Cosmic Walk at our Earth Day Festival. It is an experiential walk through the story of the creation of the universe. And we’ll have a ceremony of thanking the Earth, this year using a Native American Thanksgiving Address.”
Activities will also include tours of Straw Bale Hermitage and High Tunnel Garden, Walk the Labyrinth, meeting the Alpaca and Goats and a visit to the tipi.
Save the date for the Sixth Annual Green Connections Prairie Dinner and Concert on Oct. 4, featuring a five-course, local food dinner prepared by Chef Barb from Kam’s Kookery, Woods & Water Vineyard wine and an evening of entertainment by musical artist Kyle Dillingham.
Hoerth said, “In our modern world, many of us don’t have the opportunity to be deeply involved in nature. So we invite people to come to our family farm and spend time paying attention to the natural world.”
The Green Connections Earth Day celebration is free and open to the public. Call 580-725-3411, or email [email protected] to make reservations and to get directions.
For more information about Turtle Rock Farm visit turtlerockfarmretreat.com. To learn more about Green Connections go to greenconnectionsok.org.