Community members got a head start at celebrating Earth Day this year at the 16th annual Douglas County Earth Day & Energy Fair on Saturday at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. Outside Exhibit Hall, kids ran around laughing with sparkly painted faces while adults took in a hybrid car show to the sound of people hammering bird houses together.
Inside the building, Craig Rundle, a substitute teacher from Roseburg, was showing visitors his electricity display. He demonstrated how a model used electromagnetism to turn a motor on and off, and how a manual generator turned on a light bulb as he wound a wheel.
“I thought it would be nice to do something educational and fun,” Rundle said. “The education of our children should be the No. 1 priority for our society.”
James Baumgartner, 9, of Oakland enjoyed riding the bicycle at the display. When he pedaled, a car would move around a train set.
“I think it’s really cool and fun because somehow the bike generates power for the car to move,” Baumgartner said.
“It kind of brings people to learn about different things like animals and wildlife,” he said of the fair.
During a break from her duty at the Friends of Mildred Kanipe Memorial Park booth, Baumgartner’s mother, Karen Roberson, stopped by the exhibit to watch her son on the bike.
“I think it’s a wonderful event and it brings a lot of different facets to the community,” she said, mentioning that the fair promoted the protection of wildlife, the environment and a sustainable planet.
“I’m happy the county continues to support it every year,” Roberson said. “It’s a good family event.”
The fair featured more than 50 exhibitors and live music from several local bands. The Partnership for the Umpqua Rivers used a stream table to demonstrate the effects of landscape on streams, the Bureau of Land Management put on a migratory bird display and Canyon Creek Bicycles donated bikes to be raffled off.
At its booth, the Society of American Foresters gave away seedlings of young Western red cedar and Douglas fir trees.
The society has been giving out seedlings at the fair for the last 10 years.
“People come every year and tell us how well their trees have been doing,” said forester Trixy Moser. People who took home the seedlings should keep them cold until planted, she said.
The foresters were also talking about tree growth. Many people know to age a tree by counting its rings, but Moser showed visitors how to learn the history of the tree.
Where the rings grew close together, it meant the tree was not getting everything it needed, but where the rings were further apart, the tree was receiving its needed nutrients and had sufficient space to grow.
“I always enjoy coming every year,” Moser said. “People have good questions about the trees, and it’s nice we can be here as professional foresters to answer their questions.”