The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

April 22, 2014

3rd Earth Fest draws families to Penn State

SHARON — Penn State Shenango’s Earth Fest has become a spring tradition for area residents.

Families poured into downtown Sharon for the campus’ third annual sustainability celebration.

Saturday’s event was bolstered by sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s, as folks lined up to enjoy Penn State Berkey Creamery Ice Cream and a wide array of activities.

Live music throughout the day entertained and involved attendees.  

Dozens of people of all ages participated in a community drum circle facilitated by Associate Professor Dr. Kathy Mastrian, who kicked off the event and brought international rhythms to the proceedings.

Billy B, a performer from New York who is known as “The Natural Science Song and Dance Man,” entertained and educated kids and families with an interactive show full of songs, raps and dance moves.

Greenville High School’s 25-member Steel Drum Band, under the direction of Christopher Williams, delighted the crowd with its Caribbean look and sound.

Throughout the day, children and families filled several activity stations sponsored by local groups and organizations.

An art classroom, transformed into a “Rainforest Room,” hosted craft activities with a tropical theme. Members of Hermitage School District’s Green Team and its adviser Nancy Bires showed children how to make rain sticks, origami tree frogs, and tropical bird bracelets. Debbie Derrenbacher from First Presbyterian Church of Sharon and a handful of volunteers from the Shenango campus painted faces to resemble rainforest creatures.

Oh Wow!, the Roger and Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology in Youngstown, facilitated a variety of hands-on activities related to sustainable energy.

Christian Kuharik of Circle K Pottery and Leslie Michael from the local Endowment For the Arts assisted families in creating commemorative clay tiles that will be included as part of a civic mural project planned for Sharon’s Community Action Partnership building on Dock Street.

Student members of Penn State Shenango’s Agriculture Club provided a seed-planting activity for children and gave away packets of flower and vegetable seeds, which were donated by Kraynak’s of Hermitage.

Earth Fest 2014 also included educational multimedia presentations on various environmental topics.

Michael Kovach of Sharpsville’s Walnut Hill Farm gave a presentation entitled “Rethinking Our Food: What We Eat and How We Grow It.” It was a reprise of his January talk at TEDx Youngstown, and community members packed Penn State Shenango’s Great Hall to hear his information on the environmental impact of food choices.

Other presentations, including “Composting 101” by Jim Mondok of the Mercer County Conservation District and “Extending the Growing Season” by Elliott Lengel of Lengel Brothers Farm & Market, provided information for the backyard gardener.

During the event, Penn State Shenango’s auditorium was transformed into a marketplace filled with tables representing environmentally and socially conscious local businesses, organizations and artists.

Montrose Nissan of Hermitage was on hand to display an assortment of fuel-efficient vehicles.

Representatives of many of participating organizations, including WaterFire Sharon, Shenango River Watchers, Sharon Beautification Commission, Shenango Valley Gardeners, and the Mercer County Community Revitalization Association, reported that a large number of individuals signed up to volunteer for their organizations’ upcoming activities.

The artists’ market gave festival-goers a chancce to shop for a variety of items from fair trade chocolate to upcycled clothing and jewelry, to handmade soaps and candles.

For more information and photos from the event, visit

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