Blooming good idea: Library’s Earth Day event educates, entertains hundreds about gardens and the environment


It’s fitting that both Friends of the Laguna Beach Library and Earth Day are just a tad more than 50 years old. Each program certainly works to better the world. And having the Friends as the driving force behind the library celebrating Earth Day is certainly a win for the lucky folks who got to enjoy this special day on April 20.

It’s so fun,” said face painter Tracy Kiggen. She works at many community events throughout the region, but revealed a special fondness for the Friends of the Library Earth Day Celebration.

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Photos by Theresa Keegan

The library’s third annual Earth Day celebration on April 20 brought more than 800 people on-site to connect with nature

“The kids are just so great,” she said. “They’re super sweet and they really get into character.” Indeed, children who had dragons on the side of their faces were roaring through the outside gardens, while others with flowers were happily looking at the seed planting area.

They were but one aspect of a day filled with activities both fun and educational that had more than 800 people in attendance.

Sunita Dios walked over to the celebration with her daughter Aria, and her cousins Ashiya and Elsa.

“It was certainly worth coming over,” she said. While the young girls were exploring the activities, Dios also joined the fun and took home a fresh dill plant, which will be added to her garden.

“It’s a nice day and it’s good to talk about all this,” she said.

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Sunito Dios (left) brought her daughter Aria (far right) and her cousins Ashiya and Elsa to the Earth Day celebration

The girls had their own thoughts about lessons learned, citing recycling and litter pick-ups as ways they can make the world better, while Aria was thrilled to discover that ladybugs poop red liquid.

The ladybugs are a key component of the organic maintenance of the butterfly and fairy gardens all year, but on Earth Day organizers had 4,000 of the tiny red insects to release – much to the delight of attendees. Using twigs, coaxing and some shaking, people of all ages delighted to see the tiny spotted creatures crawling and flying from the cardboard boxes onto the leaves – and even onto people’s clothing and hair.

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There were 4,000 ladybugs released onto the library garden area throughout the day. The spotted insects arrive in cardboard containers that resemble a quart of ice cream.

“The ladybugs appeal to everyone,” said Simone Adams who, along with Kim Shields, is responsible for the garden year-round and organizes the Earth Day’s outdoor events. “Even the librarians come out and do it with us. We don’t use any chemicals, and with the release we show this is the way we help our gardens stay nice and healthy.”

The two are board members of the Friends of the Library and were involved with the inaugural Earth Day event three years ago.

Shields said it just keeps getting better every year. This year a special on-site composting presentation exhibited earthworms and soil treatments.

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The day included numerous outdoor educational tables and opportunities for people to plant seeds that can grow into a garden at home

“I just feel like Earth Day is a special event and it makes a difference to the community,” said Shields. “It helps raise awareness about the gardens, and what we can do to help it.”

This is the 10th year of the fairy garden, which was created by artist Jessica deStefano, and Adams and Shields are honored to carry on the tradition.

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Simone Adams (right) helps an attendee obtain some ladybugs which were then released onto the leaves at the Earth Day event

In addition to the environmental lessons shared, throughout the rest of the year they also coordinate the personalized responses to the 150 to 300 fairy notes left each month at the site. Adam’s daughter Ellis, age 17, who is a junior member of the Friends of the Library board, also helps. Each response includes an environmental information sheet, but Adams is thrilled with the opportunity to educate people about the garden in real life during Earth Day.

“A lot of things come together with Earth Day that made a lot of sense,” said Adams. “We can educate people on being mindful and caring for the planet. We’re able to teach them about pollinators and how everything interacts with each other – even the spider webs are used by hummingbirds for building their nest. Everything in the environment is connected.”

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