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Celebrate Earth Day the EcoFest Way

Colin Sindel, Santiago Portillo and Stillwaters volunteer Cindi Nevins explore the worms at an activity booth Saturday during last year’s Stillwaters Earth Day events. - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
Colin Sindel, Santiago Portillo and Stillwaters volunteer Cindi Nevins explore the worms at an activity booth Saturday during last year’s Stillwaters Earth Day events.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

KINGSTON — North End families are invited to celebrate Earth Day a few days early this year.

From hiking Kingston trails to grooving to live music and meeting nature’s superstars, EcoFest is back again.

The event is free and takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., April 19, at the Stillwaters Environmental Center on Barber Cut Off Road in Kingston.

The purpose is “to encourage people to think green and live green to create a sustainable community in Kitsap,” said Naomi Maasberg, SEC administrative director.

Maasberg expects 500 people to attend this year’s event, scheduled three days before Earth Day.

Attendees are asked to park at Gordon Elementary or Bayside Church where a shuttle will be offered to take them the center.

Multiple specialties are scheduled for the celebration.

Orion the Great Horned Owl will give a special guest appearance from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with handler Mike Pratt from the West Sound Wildlife Shelter, located on Bainbridge Island.

Orion, a celebrity throughout Washington, serves as an ambassador for the shelter.

Hank Veenstra, a native fiddle player, and Kel Schmitz, who performs at the Kingston Farmer’s market, will provide live music and entertainment throughout the day.

In addition to those already created, another trail is set to debut in the Sillwaters’ trails network.

Built by Girl Scout Jenneke Oostman, the trail is expected to be completed by Sunday, Maasberg said.

“There’s lots of stuff for kids and families,” she said. “There’s going to be fish printing, a place set up for building animal habitats, tanks to look at worms ... but there is adult stuff too, like learning how to use your septic tank.”

There are more vendors and booths scheduled to attend this year than ever before, Maasberg said.

Maasberg said she looks forward to the electric-powered vendors bringing electric cars and E-Motosport scooters and bikes.

“I love those,” she said. “It’s like having someone bring you the candy store and you can’t keep it.”

The annual Stillwaters’ native plant sale will also take place throughout the day to encourage and educate locals about the importance of planting native.

Hundreds of species of plants are available for purchase. Maasberg said native plant experts will also be in attendance to offer advice and answer questions.

Spanish translators are available for those who speak English as a second language.

“Even if you’re not an environmentalist and just love the outdoors it’s going to be a big, fun day with great food, entertainment and things to do,” Maasberg said. “If it’s a nice day, it’s just fun to stay out in the sun.”

For more information call (360) 297-2876 or check out their Web site: www.stillwatersenvironmentalcenter.org.

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