celebrating earth month

This past Sunday was Vermilionville's annual Earth Day Festival, and this year the weather held up just long enough!

We walked around, ate a small lunch, listened to some of the band playing, visited with the Acadiana Permaculture Guild and went for another canoe ride around the swamp.

Some of the exhibits featured the Vermilionville garden, plants from the Permaculture Guild, cooking demos, tables for the Teche Project, Palmetto Island State Park (a great little campground just 30 minutes south of Lafayette!), Lafayette Master Gardeners, Trees Acadiana, and others. There was also a scavenger hunt for children, which unfortunately I did not participate in.

There were talks given all afternoon about Bayou Vermilion recreation, the LA Trail hiking and biking networks, the recreation portion of the Lafayette Comprehensive Plan, and the vision and design for Lafayette Central Park.

The canoe ride was again my favorite part of the festival, though it was not without its moments. I was not exactly ready to paddle against some strong winds, and I'm not exactly a cool cucumber in quick moments. Oar form got a little lost in a moment of panic and I sprayed water all over my boyfriend in the back of the canoe. OOPS! We just went for a longer ride to help him dry off! Sorry, babe! When we were paddling back toward the bank, one of the volunteers let us know that there was a baby alligator just under the water very nearby. Nature! (I didn't look too hard for him because I was too busy paddling quickly back to the bank.)

From the Acadiana Permaculture Guild, we picked up some peppermint and parsley to add to the herb garden. The girls with the Guild were very friendly and explained to us how to best grow our herbs. Out front there were free trees for the taking, so we may have Googled each tree to see what it will look like in the future before we selected a gorgeous red maple for the backyard. Fall color, here we come!

I always enjoy doing something a little different, and I love spending time in local cultural spots, but I wish that there were more Earth Day in this Earth Day festival. A celebration of Acadian culture and nature is always great, but I would have enjoyed to learn a little bit more about environmentalism amongst it all. In 2010, there were tables set up for green organizations, solar companies and other related groups to share information. I would love for Lafayette to have an Earth Day festival that focuses more on alternative electricity sources, locally grown food (with some available to eat, instead of soggy french fries in a paper basket or jambalaya in a styrofoam bowl!), sustainable practices, and alternative transportation.

Maybe next year I can get a table for Eco Cajun and get that going myself! Hmm…

Elsewhere in the land, the UL Office of Sustainability is having their Earth Week celebration this week, doing everything from cleaning up campus and storm drains, to putting up a plastic bottle display, to hosting Fete de la Terre in a few short hours. If you're on or near campus today between 11:00 and 2:30, swing by the corner of Hebrard and St. Mary to join in the festivities! Best part…you can ride the St. Mary bike lane to get there!

On Sunday, April 27, Baton Rouge is hosting the Louisiana Earth Day Festival downtown. We went last year and it was a fantastic afternoon with lots of people, exhibits and sunshine. This year, however, it's happening on the last day of Festival International, so the chances of driving to Baton Rouge are about 10% to 0%! Sorry, Earth Day, but this is Festival International we're talking about. But, if you are considering a trip to Baton Rouge, I highly recommend this festival.

We're getting closer to Earth Day!

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