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For 6-year-old Cooper Pew, the Gallatin Valley Earth Day Festival on Saturday was about having fun and seeing different booths. But he also got to share his love of bees in a drawing.

“They make honey for us and food, and they make beautiful flowers,” he said. “They pollinate.”

Children visiting one of the many booths at Saturday’s festival created flags to show their favorite things about the Earth. Since Pew loves bees, he drew one and wrote “Save the Bees” with markers.

The flags will be sewn together and presented at local farmers markets, according to Sare Campbell, a volunteer with the Valley of the Flowers Project — a Montana-based nonprofit that aims to reduce plastic consumption in Bozeman.

Gallatin Valley Earth Day Festival

Josie Furst, 7, and her grandma, Jeanne Yeley, paint a bandana with natural dyes at the Montana Science Center booth at the Gallatin Valley Earth Day Festival on April 17, 2021, at the Bozeman Public Library.

Other volunteers at Saturday’s event led nature walks, watched children take stationary motorcycle rides and passed out tools for picking up trash around town.

Families strolled in a circle around the front lawn of the Bozeman Public Library as they listened to songs played by musician Taylor Burlage and his band The Divides. Food was provided by the Ugly Onion — a Bozeman-based mobile wood-fired catering company.

Festival organizers distributed children’s passports, which gave children an opportunity to collect stamps and win prizes at exhibit tables. The passports can also be used at “Earth Day in the Park,” an event that’s scheduled for Saturday, April 24, at Gallatin County Regional Park and Story Mill Park.

Loreene Reid, who helps run the Sacajawea Audubon Society’s Wetland Preservation Project, gathered people together for nature walks to the Indreland Audubon Wetland Preserve. Children visiting the preserve near East Main Street could learn about the importance of wetlands at three stations, she said.

Gallatin Valley Earth Day Festival

Michelle Everett helps her son, Eli Ozer, 2, paint a bandana with natural dyes at the Montana Science Center booth at the Gallatin Valley Earth Day Festival on April 17, 2021, at the Bozeman Public Library.

The Sacajawea Audubon Society and Gallatin Watershed Council are leading efforts to restore the approximately 40 acres of critical wetland habitat that make up the preserve.

Building on wetlands can be cost-effective in the short term, but the lost habitat ultimately costs more in the future, Reid said.

“There are so many components to what we’re doing,” she said.

At a booth run by Yellowstone Harley-Davidson, children took turns riding an electric motorcycle on a stand. They revved the LiveWire electric motorcycle, which can speed up to 60 miles per hour in three seconds, a volunteer said.

The city of Bozeman and Bozeman Beautification Advisory Board handed out totes for cleaning up the city. The totes include vests, trash bags and gloves, which will be handy for people participating in the Cleanup Bozeman Program this month.

Gallatin Valley Earth Day Festival

Jonah Gruenberg, 7, sits on a motorcycle at the Yellowstone Harley-Davidson booth during the Gallatin Valley Earth Day Festival on April 17, 2021, at the Bozeman Public Library.

From Saturday to April 24, groups are encouraged to help pick up litter around town using the clean-up kits distributed at the festival.

Anne Ready, chair of the Gallatin Valley Earth Day Committee, said various in-person and virtual events celebrating Earth Day are scheduled through May 1. Earth Day is Thursday, April 22.

Organizers last year had planned a large, two-day event at the Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture. However, the event went virtual because of restrictions related to COVID-19. Still, more than 1,000 people attended online, Ready said.

To Ready, this year’s festival was about encouraging people to work together to transform and heal the earth. She wants the message to be optimistic and inspiring for young people.

“We do have solutions, we just have to act on them now,” Ready said. “It’s the kids motivating the adults to take action.”

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Helena Dore can be reached at hdore@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2628.

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