Earth Day at Eco Center offers fun and learning


CALEDONIA —Widely recognized as the largest secular observance in the world, Earth Day is a day of action designated for fostering appreciation of the earth’s environment and awareness of the issues that threaten it. It’s a serious mission, but it can be fun, too — just plan to go to Eco Center April 30.

ECO Center LLC’s 7th Annual Community Earth Day is Saturday, April 30 from 12 – 4 p.m. Admission is free. This year’s theme is “Small Change, Big Impact.”

“We’re really trying to showcase that little changes can help you not only financially, but have a huge impact on the environment” said Eco Center owner Emily Ollervides,”like using dryer balls instead of dryer sheets or fabric softener, metal straws instead of plastic straws, getting into composting or gardening.”

“It’s really a day to showcase what people are working on and allow people to enjoy the property while they’re there,” she added.

“When I opened seven years ago, I suggested to the Morrow Environmental Committee we come together and do an Earth Day celebration and it has really picked up traction,” said Ollervides. “It’s one of the only events that we have that is sponsored by local businesses to help cover the cost of the advertising and also allows us to offer that day, outdoors, free of charge to the community.”

Local participating businesses include Del-Co Water Company, Mid-Ohio Energy Cooperative, Terradise Nature Center, Marion County Park District, Headwaters Outdoor Education Center, ECO Center, Marion Humane Society, Landes Produce, Marion & Morrow County Recycling & Litter Prevention, Morrow County Master Gardeners, and Morrow County Parks. More educational booths will also be set up during the event.

The Earth Day event also offers food and event shirts available for purchase.

Local vendors and businesses will be set up from noon until 4 p.m. Available goods for purchase include: local honey, homemade personal care products and makeup, maple syrup, farm fresh produce, flowers, eco-friendly cleaning products, plastic free living, filtered water, re-purposed and reinvented clothing and local art.

Kid’s Nature Workshops are as follows:

1:30 – 2 p.m.: Presenter Tyler Butler, Terradise Nature Center “Bioaccumulation in Owls”

2 – 2:30 p.m.: Presenter James Anderson, Marion County Parks District “A Look Inside Vernal Pools”

And at 3 p.m. there will be a Rain Barrel Raffle. Eight rain barrels, hand-painted by local artists will be raffled off starting at 3 pm. Purchase Rain Barrel Tickets in advance or the day of the event. Participants do not have to be present to win. Rain barrel artists include: Ben Kern, Annette Temple Montis, Emily Hooper, William Obenour, and Katie McCurry.

The event is co-hosted by Marion Recycling & Litter Prevention. The 2022 sponsors include: Smith Farms, Farm Transport LLC, Mid-Ohio Energy Cooperative, Hessler’s Screen Printing & More, Del-Co Water Company, Dan Kelly Stump Grinding, Sarah Roberts Massage Therapy, and Peacock Water.

Eco Center LLC

ECO Center was an idea born from a dream shared by owner Emily Ollervides and her husband Paco Ollervides. Emily Ollervides graduated from River Valley and went on to study Ocean Conservancy. She is a member of the Morrow Environmental Committee. Paco Ollervides, who grew up in Mexico City, is a marine biologist. And now he lives in the center of Ohio farmlands, but he is able to work from home and travels to work destinations.

Together they raise their two children, Sofia and Nicolas, to respect nature, learn by experience, and most importantly, have fun doing it. They share their space with their free range chickens, goats, sheep, rabbits, and three cats Diego, Blue and Jack Jack.

Eco Center LLC is comprised of the Ollervides’ 10 acre property. It includes an upcycled playground, ziplines, and a three-acre woods with an interpretative trail. At the Eco Center booth there will be laminated scavenger hunts and families can go into the woods to find items.

ECO Center opened in September 2014 with their first annual fall festival and then they held their first Earth Day event. Due to COVID, they missed one Earth Day event.

They wanted to offer a space where local schools, families, and community members could engage in safe, educational and fun activities. Each year they have taken steps to be more self-sustaining and enjoy learning and sharing new tips for greener living. Prior to COVID they hosted approximately 30 field trips a year and now are excited to again be able to offer those educational opportunities.

Since 2015 the grounds and barn have been available for group parties and events and educational school field trips. ECO Center also offers three weeks of summer camp sessions for children ages 4-12. The camp weeks are already nearly filled for this year. They also host an annual haunted trail called Phobia in the fall.

ECO Center’s farm animals are a crowd favorite at the annual Community Earth Day event. This year the event is Saturday, April 30. Center’s farm animals are a crowd favorite at the annual Community Earth Day event. This year the event is Saturday, April 30. Eco Center file photo

Beautifully hand-painted rain barrels that are auctioned off at each Community Earth Day event at the Eco Center, Caledonia. hand-painted rain barrels that are auctioned off at each Community Earth Day event at the Eco Center, Caledonia. Eco Center file photo Center file photo

By Rhonda Bletner

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