Debbie Branch, director of Keep Fort Worth Beautiful, opened the Earth Party by welcoming visitors and challenging them to, “walk away with at least one behavioral change that you can embrace that will help you live more sustainably and more green.”
Keep Fort Worth Beautiful is a sector housed within the city’s Code Compliance Department. It brings together local programs in order to “educate and engage Fort Worth residents and businesses to take responsibility for improving their community environment.”
The Earth Party, held at Magnolia Green Park April 3, was one of their programs.
Free to everyone, the party gave visitors an opportunity to learn about topics from recycling to waste reduction. Local businesses displayed what they are doing to “keep Fort Worth beautiful.”
Forty earth-friendly exhibitors including Tesla, Reverse Litter, Sky Breathing Meditation and the Sierra Club set up booths around the park to showcase their efforts to help the environment by offering informational pamphlets and assorted prizes.
“We’re excited to be at Earth Party because it’s a great event,” said Jamie Brown, a Reverse Litter employee. “Everything here is talking about sustainability, being green, and helping to protect our natural resources, which is obviously very critical.”
Reverse Litter had a pledge that passersby’s could sign called the “Ten on Tuesday” encouraging people to pick up ten pieces of trash every Tuesday. Branch said 16,343 people signed the pledge.
The Fort Worth Sierra Club brought its mascot – the Bag Monster.
The Bag Monster, portrayed by John Macfarlane, strolled around the park wearing a piece of plastic mesh with over 400 plastic bags weaved into it.
The mascot spread awareness about plastic bag pollution and advertised the club’s campaign to reduce the amount of single-use plastic bags in Fort Worth.
“It’s really warm to wear all of these, so just think about how the Earth feels the same way because we’ve got billions of plastic bags out there in the environment,” Macfarlane said. “The earth is sweating too.”
The party was a zero waste event, so volunteers stood at waste stations making sure everything was recycled. Waste stations included recycling, compost and garbage bins.
Electricity for the entire event came from a single trailer provided by Dan Lepinski, a solar energy consultant. He said his trailer was equipped with 10 large solar panels.
“At some points today they were using more than 14,000 watts, and, yes, the equipment will handle it,” said Lepinski.
Entertainment included live music from various bands, a fashion show featuring handmade dresses made of recyclable material by students from local schools and a line dance performance by Sol Ballet Folklorico.
City Councilwomen Ann Zadeh and Kelly Ellen Grey also made an appearance at the event.
Branch said the party was created to show appreciation for Cowtown Great American Cleanup volunteers and has kept growing since.
Now, she said, the Earth Party is for all of Fort Worth.
“Each year it’s grown a little bit more,” Branch said. “Now not only is it for the volunteers from the clean up but for Fort Worth residents at large.”