published Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Mentone celebrates Earth Day with festival

By Becca Horne*

MENTONE, Ala.—More that 150 visitors turned out Saturday for the first Mentone Earth Day Festival at Brow Park.

They joined local environmental groups and educators who came together to share ideas on environmental management and promote awareness of issues facing Alabama, the nation and the world.

From information on energy-saving dome homes to food, art, music and games for the kids, Mentone’s first Earth Day Festival offered a little something for everyone.

Wildflower Cafe owner Elsie Moon celebrated the day and the community.

“We love Mentone, ” Moon said. “We feel like we were all called to the mountain. Mentone is a place to witness God in action and get in touch with nature.”

The event was sponsored and hosted by Bill and Angie Shugart, owners of One World Adventure Co. The Shugarts said their venture is a 501(c)3 nonprofit outdoor education program.

“One of the primary goals of One World Adventure Company is to teach environmental and community stewardship, and raise local awareness about environmental issues facing Alabama,” Angie Shugart said.

The festival included showings of documentary films on current environmental issues.

One issue is storage of millions of tons of coal ash from the Tennessee Valley Authority’s 2008 Kingston, Tenn., ash spill in Perry County, Ala.

The coal ash contains metals such as chromium, mercury and selenium, but TVA maintains the waste is not toxic.

“Most people aren’t even aware of environmental issues facing Alabamians,” she said.

Moon Lake School, Mentone’s K-6 elementary school, offered an eco-friendly display of poetry and artwork from the students.

Part of the proceeds from the event will help further environmental education at Moon Lake Elementary, Shugart said.

The Shugarts and local volunteers hope to make this an annual event.

Contact Becca Horne at aicsouth@yahoo.com.

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