Volunteers can sign up to take part in the annual Cobbossee Watershed’s Annual Cleanup, which clears trash along the banks of Cobbosseecontee Stream. Here, former Gardiner City Councilor Colin Frey gathers trash on the banks of the Cobbossee in Gardiner in 2021. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

AUGUSTA — Central Mainers who want to celebrate Earth Day can choose from events ranging from water dancing to trash pickups to free movies.

Earth Day, observed on April 22, commemorates the founding of the modern environmental movement on that date in 1970, and communities have organized events this weekend across the region to mark the occasion.

The Waterville Public Library is expected to give out 107 trees to families who signed up for the library’s Earth Day partnership. It’s the second time the library has partnered with the nonprofit Neighborhood Forest, which aims to bring free trees to children across the country.

The sign-up period at the library  for the northern white cedar seedlings started at the beginning of the year and wrapped up in March. This  weekend, 58 families are expected to receive their new trees just in time for Earth Day and Arbor Day on April 26.

“When you want to encourage especially kids, (in) any type of landscaping or planting, the learning curve can be quite scary for people and the investment of trees can be quite expensive,” said Jessecca Craig, a patron services librarian at Waterville Public Library. “These are free, have growing instructions and we have resources at the library.”

The library is also handing out free seed packets, which were so popular last year that the public asked for the seeds to return. The seeds are all easy-to-grow plants, like tomatoes, basil and cucumbers, courtesy of Colby College, and are intended to help reduce food insecurity.


“People were calling to see if we were doing it again (this year) and the moment we post them on Facebook and the sun comes out, they’re gone,” said Craig.

The First Congregational Church in Waterville has planned the Wild Church Weekend, a retreat of community engagement to celebrate Earth Day. On Friday a potluck is scheduled with an opportunity to share stories about the concept of Wild Church instead of a traditional religious experience. On Saturday, a field trip with two meditation practices, Birdsong Sitting Meditation and Lectio Terra, is scheduled. The day ends with a potluck.

For those who want a more sedentary Earth Day experience, keynote speaker Bill McKibben will speak at 1 p.m. Saturday and an environmental themed workshop will take place a 9 a.m. Those interested can register at watervilleucc@gmail.com. The cost is $25.

Gardiner Main Street, the Kennebec Land Trust, Friends of the Cobbossee Watershed and other area organizations have organized the Cobbossee Watershed’s Annual Cleanup. Last year, the event coordinated more than 100 volunteers and a dozen nonprofits to clean up 31 locations in five towns. Interested parties are asked to gather at 8 a.m. at either the Gardiner Arcade parking lot behind Water Street or at the Pleasant Pond Causeway on Thoroughfare Road in Richmond. Interested people may sign up online for where they’d like to participate, but all are welcome. The event wraps up at noon.

In Hallowell, Celebrate Earth Day on the Kennebec River starts at 10 a.m. People are asked to gather at Granite City Park at 94 Water St. to clean the community gardens or pick up trash around the city. Those interested in cleaning the gardens are asked by organizers to bring garden gloves, hand pruners, a small tarp, a five-gallon bucket, shovels and rakes. For those who want to clean trash along the river bank, trash bags will be supplied.  The Hallowell Tree Board, Hallowell Conservation Commission, and Hallowell Climate Action are coordinating the event.

Hallowell’s National Water Dance starts at 4 p.m., with dance lessons starting in Granite City Park at 3 p.m. The sixth bi-annual National Water Dance is put on by The River Studio’s dance group, the Spiral Dance Collective. Participants include the Hallowell Conservation Commission, the Hallowell Climate Action Committee, Maine sculptors Jon Doody, Mark Herrington, and Isabel Kelley, and local farmer and writer Jonathan Strieff. The event is free.

On Sunday, a collective art experience kicks off at noon at the Paul J. Schupf  Art Center at 93 Main St., Waterville. The Mid-Maine Citizens’ Climate Lobby, artist Lucky Platt and community members are invited to create a panting about love for planet Earth in honor of Earth Day. Attendees are also invited to plant seeds donated by Fedco Seeds for the start of a garden. The day ends with a free film about seed diversity at 3 p.m.

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