Annual Earth Day event held for local students

By Megan Kennedy

May 13, 2014

Earth Day at Pleasant Vineyard Ministries, in Camden, yielded various earth-related stations to help students from local schools grasp the importance of the special day on Thursday, May 8.

For 16 years, students have flocked to the grounds to participate in the event. Eaton, National Trail, and Twin Valley South’s students rotated among the stations, each unique to Earth Day. Stations such as Native American history and culture, soils, forestry, and many others offered to students, are run by officials from various departments, as well as FFA members.

Three hundred sixth-grade students trotted around 13 different stations, rotating at the sound of a fire truck siren, to understand “the whole idea of conservation and stewardship, the wise use of our natural resources,” said BJ Price, technician and educator of the Preble County Soil and Water Conservation District. “I think the presenters and programs they present are really geared well towards sixth-grade. They’re open to learning new things, they enjoy being outside doing hands-on activities, they get a chance to touch and feel whatever the presenter passes around.”

Beth Wright, with the Recycling Division of the Preble County Solid Waste District, said, “I’ve seen a lot of people interested more in learning to help the environment. Before, the 80s, it was all: dispose, dispose, dispose, and then the focus after that was: recycle, protect the earth.” Wright said the aim is to reach school children to teach how to conserve resources and recycle, to slow down the filling of, specifically, the Preble County Landfill.

Each year, the Landfill hosts a contest for students to participate in, in which students create the most creative poster to win. The winning student will receive a $100 gift card, as well as the winning student’s school will have the poster design printed on a t-shirt, to be distributed at the Earth Day event. Eaton Middle School took first place this year with the phrase “Have good taste, create less waste” circling a picture of the earth encased in a candy-wrapper.

The Southern Singers, a Native American group from Camden, also presented for the Earth Day celebration. Mark Banks, the son of the lead singer and drum keeper, Jesse Banks, said they were invited to the Earth Day event to “give our opinions about how the Natives in Ohio celebrated Earth Day, which they did every day … the Native people called the earth, ‘Mother Earth’ because she is alive and each spring, she gives birth by the newness of the grass and the leaves.”

Mark Banks, West Elkton native, has been publicly practicing his Native American heritage through song and dance for roughly 26 years. Banks and his family are descendants of the Cherokee tribe.

The Southern Singers website is

Director of Pleasant Vineyard, David Maynard, offered lunch to faculty, presenters, and other advisors on site while students brought packed lunches.