RALEIGH — For the second year in a row, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences teams up with Burt's Bees and the City of Raleigh to present Planet Earth Celebration: Respect Your Mother. The free event, aimed at raising awareness of the importance of environmentally responsible living will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., rain or shine, on Saturday, April 18. More than 70 educational stations on sustainable living will be on all four floors of the Museum and outside along our plaza and the State Capitol grounds.
The Museum is staging a "Dumpster Dive" at 1:45pm. This is a hands-on educational event that demonstrates how mindfulness and attention to waste can help divert trash from landfills with alternatives such as recycling, re-use and composting. The "Dumpster Dive," represents the typical American family's waste but with "clean trash," and will feature the helping hands of Burt's Bees CEO John Replogle and Raleigh City Councilor Russ Stephenson.
CAT buses system-wide are FREE that day and visitors are encouraged to bring all of their disposable plastic bags (from grocery stores, dept. stores, etc.) to help us build a giant urban tumbleweed. Right now, the ball is about 4½ feet tall and it is our hope that it becomes one of the biggest in the Triangle! The purpose is to illustrate a tiny fraction of the magnitude of plastic bags that are used worldwide – 1 million per minute! After the event, the bags will be recycled. Environmentally focused art pieces from Broughton, Millbrook and Sanderson High Schools, titled the E-wareness Art Exhibition 2009, can be found under a tent on the Capitol Grounds.
Other attractions this year include Burt's Bees "Happy Burt Day" Bonanza Tent sale in celebration of their 25th anniversary, Whole Foods' "Bag Out in Style" Fashion Show; "Patty's Green," a live action eco-style musical show for young people; Trash Parade and the creative pageants of Paperhand Puppet Intervention. Returning this year is the Kids Zone, courtesy of the Scrap Exchange, who will bring a variety of 'trash' for kids to turn into their treasure, as well as an activity by the Marbles' Kids Museum, and Don "The Junkman" Knaack, playing a series of jams throughout the day on instruments made from 100% recycled materials (up to 200 pieces of trash!) In addition, local bands will play on the sound stage on the Capitol grounds throughout the day. Visitors are encouraged to use an alternate means of transportation to travel to and from the celebration like taking the bus or riding a bicycle. The Museum will also host the 9th annual North Carolina Sustainable Design Competition, which challenges college students around our state to create a design that incorporates green building practices in a way that is affordable and practical for actual construction. Statewide winners will see their design built as part of the grand prize.
Planet Earth Day Celebration 2009, brought to you by the Museum in partnership with Burt's Bees, with support from the City of Raleigh and the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, will be a green festival, managed and operated in a way that will minimize its footprint, and will optimize use of goods and services that respect the Earth. For more information on any of the Earth Day activities, feel free to log onto www.planetearthcelebration.com  or contact Steve Popson, Assistant Marketing Director, at 919-733-7450, ext. 379 or Steve.Popson@naturalsciences.org .
Prairie Ridge, the Museum's 38-acre field station for wildlife, sustainable living and experiential learning, located on Reedy Creek Road between the Edwards Mill Ext. and Blue Ridge Road (just past the National Guard Check Point), will also host Earth Day activities on Saturday, April 18. From 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. visitors can learn more about invasive species and participate in their removal. For information contact Brian Hahn, Brian.Hahn@naturalsciences.org , 919.733.7450 ext 674.
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, 11 West Jones St., downtown Raleigh, documents and interprets natural history of the state of North Carolina through exhibits, research, collections, publications and educational programming. Website, http://naturalsciences.org . Hours: Mon-Sat., 9am-5pm and Sun., Noon-5pm. Admission is free. The Museum is an agency of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee Freeman, Secretary.