Families looking for a fun activity this weekend will not only have the chance to get outdoors, they'll learn about how to protect them as well.

Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful is partnering with multiple entities to host its annual Earth Day and Outdoor Expo from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Big Spring Memorial Park in Athens.

“We had to cancel last year's event because of COVID-19,” KALB Executive Director Leigh Patterson said. “This year, our goal was to have a smaller event and make it completely outdoors so we can socially distance. We have almost 30 vendors planning to be there.”

Multiple sources of entertainment will be available, including Steve Trash, the eco-magician, who will be doing three shows beginning at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. Trash comes courtesy of the Limestone County Water and Sewer Authority. There will also be a petting zoo on KALB grounds thanks to Limestone Pediatric Dentistry, and Tailgate Talk with WKAC will be broadcasting from the pavilion at the park.

“We try to bring in vendors or exhibitors that have an environmental message or environmental products,” Patterson said. “We have retailers with handmade products that are earth-friendly, that type of thing. We also invite nonprofits to come and showcase what they do for our community.”

Patterson said local children's book author Carissa Lovvorn will be reading her book in between Trash's shows, and Athens State University will host tree tours on its campus beginning at noon and 1 p.m.

“The Forestry Commission has provided 300 saplings for us to give away,” Patterson said. “Those will be available at the KALB information tent. Thanks to Amy Golden and the City of Athens for arranging that.”

Patterson said she thinks it is very important for children to learn about environmental issues from an early age.

“If they implement these things as they grow and learn, they will be more responsible adults,” she said. “The world around us is a gift. It's not ours for the taking. An old Native proverb says, 'We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.' If we take care of the things we have now, we can pass it on to future generations.”

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