Honoring the planet

Earth Day may come only once a year, but when it does area residents step up their level of environmental friendliness.


Vindicator Staff Writer

Choffin Students Clean Up

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Choffin students clean up on Youngstown's Southside as part of Earth Day.

Though most tree branches are still bare, green is the color of the day today.

Earth Day is celebrating its 39th year and many Valley residents are honoring our planet by picking up trash, hosting educational seminars and even by sporting recycled items as clothing.

Eleventh- and 12th-graders at the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center will be decked out in plastic, paper and more for the school’s second Trash Bash fashion show today.

“Our goal was to teach the student body why we recycle,” said Melissa Hackett, an interactive multimedia instructor who started the event with Kim Lewis of the Mahoning Country Green Team.

Events like the Trash Bash “help out our Earth and our precious resources,” said Lewis, Green Team education specialist.

“Anything that we can do to raise awareness is beneficial,” she said.

The students created outfits using items destined for the trash or the recycling bin, Hackett said.

Brittany Stidom’s team loosely based their outfit on a rainbow theme using multi colored artificial flowers recycled from cemeteries, pop cans and neon pop tabs.

The 17-year-old from Springfield, who is nicknamed “Skittles,” will model the colorful motif for students, members of the Green Team and other community leaders today during two different lunch periods.

Stidom and her teammates are especially proud of the pop tab necklace, as well as the pop tab and plastic craft rope corset they designed.

“It’s a new way of letting people know about recycling instead of using the old reduce, reuse, recycle speech,” Erin Fitz-Patrick, 17, of Struthers said of the event.

“It allows you to be creative,” added teammate, Cassy Brownlee, 17, also of Struthers.

“And the best part is you can recycle the dress,” Stidom said.

During Tuesday’s dress rehearsal, Sebastian Fritz, 18, of Boardman was planning his catwalk moves for today’s show.

Fritz and his team developed a character they called the “Vitamin Water Fairy.”

Team member, Josh Wilding, 17, of Struthers drank about 100 bottles of Vitamin Water to create the costume, which was made mostly of the caps and labels, as well as cardboard wings.

“This event makes you realize trash can be used as fashion,” Fritz said.

“And makes you think more about Earth Day,” added Wilding.

A third group member, Shawn Cochran, 17, of West Branch, suggested that the costume not be thrown out or recycled after the event.

“It would be a pretty nifty Halloween costume,” he said.

Ponchos were the costumes for many Choffin Career and Technical Center students on Monday.

A group of 60 juniors and seniors from the school participated in a litter pick up on Youngstown’s South Side during the rainy weather to honor Earth Day.

While wearing bright green shirts emblazoned “Be Green, Celebrate Earth Day,” the students walked up and down streets near South Avenue picking up tires, bottles, paper and even car bumpers.

“They live here and they want to feel proud of their area,” said Holly Welch, bio technology instructor at the school.

Welch planned the event with Jennifer Jones, program coordinator for Youngstown Litter Control and Recycling and Councilman John R. Swierz, D-7th.

“We as community members have to make the difference,” Welch said.

Two Youngstown sisters, China and Sparkle Thomas, did double duty for the trash clean up, attending both clean up sessions. They agreed that littering is just “laziness.”

“Somebody’s got to make a change, so we’re starting now,” 17-year-old China said. “Whenever you see a piece of trash just pick it up.”

Sparkle added, “A better world starts with you.”

Jones said the city can always use more volunteers to pick up litter and help beautify their neighborhoods.

Earth Day provide a number of opportunities to get involved and Jones encourages residents to take advantage.

“We love to show we’re involved,” she said while working with students Monday.

“Hopefully it prompts other people in the city to get involved and take pride in the community.”


June 4, 1916: Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson born in Clear Lake, Wisc. Nelson, a World War II veteran, served in the Wisconsin State Senate and as governor before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 1962.

1969: Chemical waste released into Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River causes it to catch fire. The event becomes symbolic of how industrial pollution is damaging America’s natural resources.

1969: Nelson announces the idea for Earth Day, a large-scale, demonstration against the degradation of America’s natural resources.

April 22, 1970: 20 million people participate in inaugural Earth Day activities around the United States.

December 1970: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established by President Richard Nixon in order to protect human health and safeguard the natural environment.

1972: Congress passes the Clean Water Act, which limits pollutants in rivers, lakes and streams.

1973: Congress passes the Endangered Species Act to protect animals and their ecosystems.

1980: After 18 years in the U.S. Senate, Nelson loses his race for a fourth-term in office. After leaving the Senate, Nelson becomes a counselor for The Wilderness Society.

1990: The 20th anniversary Earth Day celebrations go global, with participants in over 140 countries.

1995: Nelson receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award given to a civilian, in honor of his environmental work.

2000: Millions of people in 184 countries celebrate the 30th anniversary of Earth Day, with a focus on “clean energy.”

July 3, 2005: Nelson dies at age 89.

April 2007: Capacity crowds attend Green Apple Festival Earth Day events in New York City, San Francisco and Chicago. More than 40,000 people show up for Earth Day festivities at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, setting a single-day attendance record. Earth Day Network members host 10,000 Earth Day events around the world.

Source: www.history.com


Earth Day events in the region today and later in the week. The list continues on Page A3.


Opening of the movie “Earth”

Info: The 90-minute movie was made by the creators of the Discovery Channel series “Planet Earth” and follows the lives of three animal families in their journeys across the planet. Narrated by James Earl Jones,

Theater: Cinemark Tinseltown, 7401 Market St., Boardman

Times: 12:20 p.m.; 2:40 p.m.; 5 p.m.; 7:20 p.m.; and 9:40 p.m.

Theater: Regal Boulevard Center, 24 Boulevard Center, Niles

Times: 12:30 p.m.; 2:45 p.m.; 5 p.m.; 7:15 p.m.; and 9:30 p.m.


WHAT: Earth Day Fair with about 25 environmental organizations that set up displays in Kilcawley Center.

WHERE: Kilcawley Center

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.


WHAT: Press conference to highlight environmental initiatives on campus and the announcement of the new YSU “Red, White and Green” campaign.

WHERE: Presidential Suites of Kilcawley Center

WHEN: 1 p.m.


WHAT: Victoria Road Business Litter Cleanup

WHERE: Starting near Superior Beverage, Victoria Road, Austintown

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

TRASH BASH Fashion Show

WHAT: Students in the Interactive MultiMedia program at Mahoning County Career and Technical Center become fashionistas in outfits designed entirely out of trash.

WHERE: MCC&TC, 7300 N. Palmyra Road, Canfield

WHEN: 10:45 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.


WHAT: Students will bring in organic foods to share with members of the school’s environmental club and environmental science classes.




WHAT: Residents can recycle refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, stoves, air conditioners, microwaves, small appliances and any other scrap metal.

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

WHERE: Youngstown Iron and Metal, 100 Division St.


Springfield Township Community Cleanup, Springfield Township Building

Downtown Sebring Cleanup, near 12th Street, downtown Sebring

Austintown Rotary & Fitch Internet Club Cleanup, Kirk Road between South Turner and Whispering Pines, Austintown



WHERE: Mill Creek Farm, State Route 46, Canfield

WHEN: 3 p.m. (10 openings are remaining)

Sources: Mahoning County Green Team and www.fandango.com.

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