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What you can do for Mother Nature on Earth Day

It’s the day to hug Mother Earth, but local experts say you don’t need ridiculously long arms to do so.

Lynn White, education specialist at Butler Soil and Water Conservation District, said there are plenty of things individuals can do today and everyday to help the environment.

“If you add a tiny piece more, it can make real change,” she said.

Yvonne Dunphe, volunteer coordinator for Five Rivers MetroParks, said personal steps such as starting a compost in your yard or walking or biking when you can instead of driving a vehicle helps the cause.

“Start with the low hanging fruit,” she advises.

Below are easily steps residents can do to help the environment from White and Dunphe.

Get involved, get educated, get out there

Dunphe said MetroParks would not work without dedicated volunteer. She pointed to the 100,000 trees volunteers have helped the parks district plant during the last three years.

She encourages area residents to volunteer with park districts and environmental organizations and get out there and enjoy and learn about nature.

Something to do:

A free nature walk will be held at Rebert Pike Nature Park, 1696 Rebert Pike in Springfield, to celebrate Earth Week 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, April 26.

Participants will learn about animals that call the region home at the event sponsored by the National Trail Parks and Recreation District.

Pre-registration is recommended. Call 937-328-7275.

Garden Station, 509 East Fourth St. in Dayton, will hold Earthfest 2014 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. The free event includes workshops a non-Mosanto plant sale, vendors and information.

Juliet Schor, a professor of sociology at Boston College and author of “Plentitude,” will present the free lecture “Making daily life more sustainable” at the University of Dayton’s Boll Theatre, 300 College Park, 7 p.m. today.

Keep drugs out of the water

White said that many believe that keeping prescription drugs out the hands of criminals is the only reason for the Drug Enforcement Agency sponsored National Take Back Initiative.

There is an environmental benefit.

“It also prevents people from flushing the drugs down the toilet where they can get into the rivers, creeks and lakes,” she said.

Something to do: The eight annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 26.

Visit to find drug drop off locations.

Pull you weeds

Plucking invasive weeds like honeysuckle, lesser celandine and garlic mustard from your own yard can help prevent them from spreading and impacting native wildlife in park lands and other green spaces, Dunphe said.

“If we can encourage people to take that step within their own back yards it would be huge,” she said.

Invasive plants crowd out native species that are beneficial to this environment.

“They haven’t evolved with our native ecosystem,” Dunphe said. “They don’t provide anything to our living things.”

Something to do: Native and wild plants will be sold at the Cox Arboretum Foundation annual sale 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 26.

Organic vegetable plants will be among the items sold at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark MayFair Plant Sale 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 3, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, May 4.

Balance your garden’s diet

Like people, plants only need so much food, White said.

People should use fertilizers, weedkillers and other gardening products as directed.

“It all add up,” White said. “You can only kill a dandelion one time.”

She said excess products often ends up in water systems which can help lead to issues like the ones Grand Lake St. Mary’s has encountered in recent years.

“The plants can only absorb so much in the terms of nutrients,” White added.

Get tested

White said people often estimate how what happens above ground can impact the water that runs under out feet.

Something to do: Anyone who lives within the Miami Conservancy District can have samples of their well water tested for nitrates, arsenic, and bacteria at 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at an Earth Day event in downtown Hamilton or at Earthfest in Oxford’s Uptown Park 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

The first 100 Butler County residents that sign up can have their soil tested for a discounted rate part of an Ohio Department of Natural Resource grant, White said. Call the Ohio State Extension Butler County office at 513-887-3722

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