Earth Day

Penny Rose, 5, retrieves a sand-filled strawberry pouch from a bucket at the Happy Trashcan Curbside Composting booth during the Earth Day Festival on Saturday at the Bozeman Public Library.

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Karl Johnson wants to talk about worms — and their composting abilities, that is.

“We’re just trying to do more and more educational stuff,” he said.

Owner of YES Compost, Johnson was one of many organizations at this year’s Earth Day Festival on Saturday at the Bozeman Public Library. His booth was a hit with the kids, where he let them play with worms and even take some of them home.

“People can kind of get tactile,” he said. “I just tell them they need to name them.”

Johnson said the festival was good for people who might want to get involved but don’t know how. The event included presentations, exhibits, a family friendly stage show and interactive activities for kids, including face painting, a puppet show, a mobile greenhouse and live music featuring songs about nature.

Stacey Breitlow said her child, a toddler, loved learning about solar energy from a flashlight and a solar car. She said she attended because she knew her kids would love the solar-powered car and mobile greenhouse, and she thought it was an important event for the community.

“You find out the little things you do add up,” she said.

It’s important for adults to be good role models when it comes to environmental sustainability, said Kate Burnaby Wright, chair of the steering committee for Open & Local, an organization dedicated to improving local food economies.

“I think it’s important for kids to recognize that their community cares about this stuff,” she said.

Earth Day reminds people to be responsible in how they treat the environment, said Travis Kidd, education chair for Sacajawea Audubon Society. The society had a table at the festival informing people of ways they can make the plants at their homes more diverse and native to the region.

“It would be really easy to lose sight of it, especially in today’s age of disconnect from the environment,” he said.

Brandy Blakely, a hot dog vendor at the festival with her husband, brought her two young children to the event. She said it was important for them to see what recycling looks like, and she said the crowd said a lot about Bozeman.

“I think it just shows the deeper roots of Bozeman,” she said. “People care about what it looks like out there.”

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Abby Lynes can be reached at or 406-582-2651. Follow her on Twitter @Abby_Lynes.

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