When you're as fuzzy as Sullivan, everyone wants to pet you.
Sullivan is an alpaca and was one of the featured attractions at Earth Day at Riverfront Park in Point Pleasant Borough on Saturday afternoon.
There was also a donkey, chickens, goats, rabbits, greyhounds, rides, games, food, vendors and exhibits on all things Earthy, including how to keep mosquitos away in natural, environmentally-sound, low-cost ways.
According to the Point Pleasant Environmental Commission's web site, "The focal point for this year's Earth Day theme will be to teach the uses of alternative methods for mosquito control and to stress that 'Mosquito Control Starts at Home.'
"Using biological products along with natural predators and source reduction to reduce mosquito populations in your neighborhood instead of the use of traditional pesticides is more environmentally-friendly and equally as effective when considering the harm those traditional pesticides can have on the plants and animals." the web site says.
If you think the best way to keep those nasty biting pests away is to use smelly bug spray, think again.
You're better off planting marigolds or making a lotion with lavendar, vanilla and other natural ingredients for a cheaper, better-smelling alternative, according to Borough students.
A tri-fold poster board on the Memorial Middle School table explained how to make your own bug repellant lotion at home and take other steps to get rid of mosquitos in natural, low-cost ways.
Nellie F. Bennett Elementary School had its own green team, involving students' ideas and projects that re-used items that otherwise would have been thrown in trash or recycling bins. The school, continuing a long tradition, uses the concept in a contest to see which students can "re-use and recycle" in the most compelling ways.
The marigold idea was the basis for Luke Wilson's project. He planted marigolds in small pots and mounted them on a wooden frame he built from re-used materials. Luke, a student in Kelly Quabeck's class, won first place for second grade.
Kellsey Byrne in Kate Kesler's class won for re-using materials to create a puppet theater.
Sarah Leahy, in Stephanie Smith's class, won first place in third grade for her greenhouse and water bottle created from re-used materials.
Caroline Shea won first place in fourth grade for the two pound weights she made by filling water bottles with sand.
John Millan Jr., in Deanne Glenn's class, was another winner for re-using materials to create a ship simulating the Titanic.
Brielle Kimler re-used cardboard and other materials to build a large doll house and won first place for fifth grade. Her teacher is Laura Runge.
According to the Ocean County Mosquito Extermination Commission, taking the following steps to eliminate standing water where mosquitos breed can help cut down on mosquitos:
"Clean up containers that hold water around your yard - buckets, bird baths, tires, pool covers, wading pools and gutters.
Do not dump grass clippings and yard waste in ditches, streams or catch basins."
Earth Day seemed bigger and better than those in prior years. However, the crowd may have seemed a little too large for those who have stood in long lines to use the only two bathrooms available (one for men and one for women).
Apparently, the original plan was to use the bathrooms on Maxson Avenue Beach, right next to Riverfront Park. But the plumbing was not operating in the beach bathrooms.
So the commission is planning to make sure those beach bathrooms are usable for Earth Day next year and to also roll in some portable toilets for the day, said Commission Chairman Chris Constantino.
Constantino also thanked the volunteers who helped plan, set up, run and clean up after Earth Day and the businesses who donated, sponsored and had booths at the event.
For a listing of participants, vendors, sponsors and exhibitors, please read Constantino's latest blog posted on Patch shortly before Earth Day began.
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