Earth Day celebrations held around San Diego County

Events in Balboa Park, Oceanside, and Palomar Mtn

SAN DIEGO - Earth Day and Week celebrations are were held Sunday in Balboa Park, downtown Oceanside and in the Palomar Mountain State Park.

Palomar Mountain State Park celebrated Earth Day, which was Tuesday, April 22, with a day of service. Volunteers groomed the park's historic apple orchard, and will control invasive plant species like bull thistle or mullein.

Children ages 10 and under can sign up to be "litter getters," according to park officials.

The city of San Diego capped off "Earth Week" with its 25th annual Earth Fair in Balboa Park. About 60,000 people attended the event, which included at least 300 exhibitors, a children's parade, an art show and a clean vehicle exhibit.

Hundreds of businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies took part in the annual event, sharing environmentally friendly products, services and policies.

One of the many interactive displays at the Earth Fair was the ecoATM. Cellphone users who want to ditch their old phones can do so safely.

"E-waste is the fastest growing section of our waste stream and we created this product to help solve that and recycle people's devices," said Amy Rice, who is with ecoATM.

The ATM scans your phone and within minutes, determines the value and pays cash for your old device or donates $1 to charity if it has no value. The cash is a perk, but properly disposing of electronic devices is priceless to Mother Nature.

"The land cannot decompose the metals inside so when they do, a lot of the toxins end up into the soil, which can also end up in our water," said Rice.

This year, volunteers with the Art Miles Mural Project painted a special mural remembering the victims killed in the South Korea ferry tragedy.

"This is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, and a lot of Korean population and our hearts go out to those families who lost those loved ones," said Joanne Tawfils, who is with the project.

The group plans to personally deliver the mural to the South Korea ambassador next month.

The Earth Festival at Pier View Way and Tremont Street in Oceanside, which organizers said would be the largest of its kind in North County, also began at 10 a.m.

The event featured a vintage market, a green home improvement area, sales of drought-friendly plants, demonstrations and entertainment. Also on the agenda was a "Recycled Chic" fashion show and kid-friendly crafts.

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