MORGAN TOWNSHIP | “Amazon Bob” held Whoosier, the Eurasian eagle owl, while kids lined up to pet him.
“It’s feathery and soft,” said Aidan Giles, 7.
Aidan, a budding wildlife biologist, was in his glory at the eighth annual Earth Day Celebration at the Porter County Expo Center Saturday.
The event, organized by the Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County, showcased environmental groups and information, a plant sale, kids’ games, and educational presentations for the whole family. The day also featured reusable bag and seedling giveaways, a cloth diaper exchange, a build-your-own birdhouse workshop, a silent auction, free electric vehicle rides and confidential document shredding.
Aidan Giles and his brother Nathan, 4, eyed the exotic animals on display at Silly Safari, including Melon, the banded armadillo, and Jello, a White’s tree frog.
“Science is my most favorite thing in the whole wide world,” said Aidan. “Someday I’m going to make my own museum and be in charge of it.”
The boys’ mom, Calee Giles, of Machesney Park, Ill., was visiting family in Valparaiso, and saw the event in the newspaper. She said her sons have always been lovers of the outdoors.
“We talk about taking care of the earth at home,” said Giles. “They just kind of jumped on it and they love it.”
Therese Davis, executive director of the Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County, said the event, like a young seedling, is “growing and growing and growing.”
Ideally, such an event would be outdoors, said Davis, but organizers are grateful the Expo Center has hosted the event for the second year.
“Mother Nature in April is fickle,” said Davis. “The weather’s great today, but with all the rain we’ve been having, the public appreciates the fact that we have the event inside.”
New this year was a Radio Disney booth with interactive kids games and a rain barrel painting contest, in which Porter County school children painted 25 rain barrels and passers-by voted for their favorites.
Joan Moran and Sue Coxon, both of Valparaiso, admired unique birdhouses made of recycled vintage coffee pots created by Betty and Roy Balcerak, of Valparaiso.
“I love this,” said Coxon, of the event. “A lot of the is useful around the house.”
Moran said she was “having a wonderful time” and expressed her appreciation like a true recycler.
“It’s so much fun, and it’s free,” said Moran. “There’s nothing like free.”