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DeWitt to host array of Earth Day events

State Senator David Valesky, retired New York State Assemblywoman Joan Christensen and DeWitt Town Supervisor Ed Michalenko cut the ribbon to the new 51 KW photovoltaic array solar panel roof.

State Senator David Valesky, retired New York State Assemblywoman Joan Christensen and DeWitt Town Supervisor Ed Michalenko cut the ribbon to the new 51 KW photovoltaic array solar panel roof. Photo by Amanda Seef.

As Earth Day approaches, DeWitt is working to show its residents how they can help the environment year-round.

On Saturday, April 21, the day before Earth Day, the town of DeWitt will hold an Earth Day fair in addition to its annual “Clean Up to Green Up” trash pickup.

The fair, something the town first did last year, will include a series of presentations on sustainable and environmentally friendly practices to teach people how they can help the Earth, said Vicki Baker, a member of the town’s sustainability committee.

“Info is key. We want to spread the message that Earth Day is about more than litter. We can help the Earth and make it a better place to live,” said Baker, who served on the town board from 2007 to 2011. “The town has done a lot of work to become sustainable and now we are trying to educate people about what they can do.”

The fair, which begins at 9 a.m. at DeWitt Town Hall, will include presentations by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority on making homes and businesses energy efficient. DeWitt and Onondaga County will present on their Community Sustainability initiatives, including a rain barrel demonstration to highlight the county’s “Save the Rain” campaign. East Syracuse-Minoa High School students will present the work they have been doing with SUNY College of Environmental Science of Forestry and Minoa’s Waste Water treatment facility.

In addition to the fair, the town will hold its 31st annual “Clean Up to Green Up.” The town will give out gloves, bags and vests for trash pickup at a number of locations around DeWitt. Volunteers will also be instructed on sorting trash and recyclables, said Angela Epolito from the town supervisor’s office.

The town of DeWitt has made sustainability a priority since Baker joined the town board in 2007. In 2009, the town joined New York State’s Climate Smart Communities program, which aims to create a partnership between state and local governments to help communities reduce greenhouse gas emissions and become more sustainable.

The town has undertaken a number of green initiatives, many of which were paid for by state grant money through the Climate Smart program. These initiatives include installing solar panels, altering lighting and heating systems in town buildings, distributing blue recycle bins and running a metal recycling program, Baker said.

For more information on Earth Day events, visit townofdewitt.com.

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