Napans by the droves celebrated Earth Day Saturday with music, food and dozens of booths set up around Veterans Memorial Park.
As music wafted from the park, visitors strolled along Main and Third streets, where children could get their faces painted, examine a beehive or learn how pesticides pollute the Napa River.
“It’s a nice day to get out,” said Mark Strode, who came with his family and other relatives.
Teachers at Vista 360 at Pueblo Vista, a new environmental science magnet school, invited kids to build “cities” with cardboard on the lawn of the Old Courthouse.
“We’re just having a little fun,” said Patrick Warfield, principal at the kindergarten to fifth-grade school, on the lawn. “It’s a good day to celebrate the Earth and get our message out.”
Dozens of environmental organizations were represented as well.
Chris Sauer set up a non-native plant exhibit with bundles of yellow French broom branches, eucalyptus and acacia leaves and other non-native plants, which, he explained, choke native species.
At the Jack L. Davies Napa Valley Agricultural Land Preservation Fund table, Volker Eisele and Hugh Davies handed out pamphlets along with cosmos and wildflower seeds.
Hugh Davies of Schramsberg, a Preservation Fund board member, said they came to give people a sense of what the group’s mission is — protecting agricultural land and agriculture in Napa County.
“Otherwise, the Napa Valley will become the Santa Clara Valley,” he said.
Earlier in the day, volunteers picked up about 3,000 pounds of garbage, including cigarette butts, Styrofoam cups, empty bottles, glass shards, and a portable toilet, during the sixth annual Earth Day Downtown Napa River Clean-up.
Many of Saturday’s 150 volunteers, who signed up at five different stations around Napa, said they had participated in past clean-ups.
“It’s pretty rewarding,” said Patrick Janovich, 27, after he and Sarah Wiggin found a transmission partially submerged in the Napa River along Riverside Drive.
Other volunteers, Chris Hattich, 31, and Becky Bash, 28, found a partially decomposed mattress, box spring and all, on the edge of the river near Riverside Drive. Both had volunteered before, they said. The two kayak and fish in the Napa River, they said, adding they want to keep the river clean.
Jonathan and Shelia Gentry, who helped coordinate volunteers from a station behind the Napa Cinedome 8 movie theater, are also Earth Day clean-up veterans.
“This is the least that we can do for Earth,” Shelia Gentry said.
In downtown Napa, Cory Mac Innes was checking the gutters near the Second Street garage, garbage bag in hand, after picking up litter at the bus stop. A recent Chico State University graduate, Mac Innes, 24, said he took part in sustainability projects in college. He was volunteering at Napa’s Earth Day celebration for the first time.
“Napa is beautiful,” Mac Innes said, adding he wants to keep it that way.