By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Green Connections, a non-profit organization dedicated to ecological education, will hold their 6th Annual Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 23 at Turtle Rock Farm, east of Billings, Oklahoma. Festivities will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
A working farm run by Pat Hoerth and Ann Denney, Turtle Rock is also a retreat for sustainability, spirituality and healing.
“The Earth Day Festival is an educational event and a celebration,” Hoerth said. “It’s a chance to be 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.
“We’re excited about this year’s festival – our sixth one,” added Hoerth. “Focus will be on pollinators.”
The mission of Green Connections is to help people connect with nature and to learn to live more sustainably.
Oklahoma Sierra Club Conservation Committee Co-Chair Kim Bartlett will be doing demonstrations on pollinators, including bees, says Hoerth.
“She’s representing the work of Oklahoma City Urban Ag Coalition and the Sierra Club, both of which are working on the pollinator crisis. Transition OKC will be helping people make seed balls for pollinators,” Hoerth continued.
In addition, the owners of Smart Pots, a garden aeration fabric container manufacturer in Oklahoma City, will hold a gardening demonstration.
“Guests can tour the straw bale hermitage, take the cosmic walk, participate in a nature scavenger hunt, walk the prairie labyrinth, meet the alpacas and goats, try their hand at spinning alpaca wool, learn about solar energy, or visit a high tunnel garden,” Hoerth said.
“As always, there will be a cookout with corn on the cob and Wichita Buffalo Company bison hot dogs,” she said. “We always have live music and this year Matthew Hill and friends will return, as will Louise Siddons, calling a contra dance – a traditional group dance to lively fiddle music, which is fun and festive.”
The Green Connections Earth Day Festival is family-friendly, free and open to the public.
“At the Green Connections Earth Day celebration we spend the day outdoors, appreciating and enjoying Earth and learning ways we can live that help all life thrive. It’s one of our favorite days of the year!
“Celebrating our astonishingly wondrous planet once a year seems the least we can do,” said Hoerth. “Really, we must pay attention to its intricacy and its grandeur every day.
“We will also have information about the controversial State Question 777, a so-called ‘Right to Farm’ change to the state constitution,” Hoerth stated.
SQ 777 will be on the general election ballot this November. Some groups, such as the Oklahoma Stewardship Council, feel the amendment threatens Oklahoma’s farmers by giving advantages to industrial factory farms, foreign corporations and animal cruelty operations like puppy mills and cock fighting.
“In our modern world, many of us don’t have the opportunity to be deeply involved in nature,” Hoerth said. “So we invite people to come to our family farm and spend time paying attention to the natural world.”
On Saturday, October 1, Turtle Rock Farm will host the 8th Annual Green Connections Prairie Dinner and Concert. Festivities will feature a five-course local food dinner and wine, as well as live entertainment set in the Farm’s natural setting.
Hoerth added, “We’d like people to let us know they’re coming for the Earth Day celebration, so we can have enough food at the grill.”
To RSVP and get directions, contact Pat Hoerth, or Ann Denney by calling 580-725-3411 or 580-917-6011.