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Celebrating Earth Day in Newton County
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Celebrating Earth Day in Newton County

The 50th Anniversary of Earth Day is approaching on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, and with the global pandemic, we are reminded that things to do in Covington Ga and Newton County can extend beyond our community. As we celebrate Earth Day 2020 while sheltering in place, we can take little steps toward being more environmentally conscious and make the initiative to start new environmental projects. Now is also a great time to commit to doing more in our community. From the Keep Newton Beautiful campaigns to wildlife programs at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center, our county offers many events and activities in environmental tourism and volunteer tourism that help us stay environmentally conscious year-round.

Here are a few thoughts for what you can do now.

Join an art contest.

Keep Newton Beautiful encourages local participation in an art contest sponsored statewide by the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation. To help keep Georgia clean, green and beautiful, bring out your creativity by incorporating key initiatives: ending litter, reducing waste, promoting recycling, and beautifying our communities. The photo of your artwork could be selected for a prize. Winners will be chosen from photos in categories for adult, grades 6-12, and K-5.

Share your photographs of wildlife.

As many of you find more time for walks and fresh air, you increase your awareness of nature. Since it is spring, you might see more young wildlife. While the young might look like they need help, momma is usually nearby and will come back to feed and care for them. They are best left in their natural habitats so don’t disturb them. Instead, take a photograph! While you see them from a distance, share the beauty of wildlife in photos. You can share your photos with Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center during their Earth Month Picture Challenge on their Facebook page.

Pick local strawberries.

It’s strawberry time and one of our favorite environmental tourism activities this time of year is picking strawberries at Mitcham Farm! Located in Oxford, the farm is family owned and operated for five generations and recognized as a Centennial Family Farm by the State of Georgia. On Earth Day and every day during the season, with weather permitting, they have plenty of space for you to pick strawberries while maintaining social distancing. For your safety during the COVID-19 crisis, they are following the recommendations by the University of Georgia Extension for u-pick farms and markets. In addition to strawberries, they have a farm stand with fresh produce.

Buy locally grown.

Buying locally grown produce is a great way for you to get fresh and quality food. It also helps the environment by reducing the amount of packaging and minimizing the impact of distribution and transportation. Located in downtown Covington, Ramsey Produce provides fruits and vegetables from Georgia state farmers' markets. One special way Ramsey Produce is helping high-risk individuals during the current crisis is by offering free delivery. Some other places to buy locally grown produce include Crystal Organic Farm and Yellow Hen Farm.  

Support Sustainable Businesses.

Our local, small businesses are an integral part of the community and contribute to environmental tourism in our county. Many of them are sponsors for beautification projects and pave the way for conservation and green space programs. Others make environmentally friendly materials and apply sustainable methods in their business practices. For example, The Oaks Golf Course and Aston Hills Golf Course make sustainability a central element of their business strategy. The golf courses are their own ecosystems with pollinator gardens and pollinating plants placed throughout the courses. Golfing is also an approved essential business so you can play on Earth Day 2020.

Participate in Environmental Tourism.

While COVID-19 limits what you can do on Earth Day, you can participate in environmental tourism and volunteer tourism during events throughout the year. Take on a future challenge that will help improve the environment in Newton County and make the earth a better place. Some events where you can participate or take an initiative with volunteering include: Keep Newton Beautiful’s Rivers Alive on Saturday, September 26 and Free Paper Shred Event on Monday, November 16; and Georgia Wildlife Federation’s 12th Annual Shoot for Conservation Sporting Clays Tournament at Burge Club on September 25. Volunteers for ongoing trail maintenance and sponsors are also needed with Newton Trails and Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center. Another way to take an initiative is to start your own cleanup or recycling team at your school or place of work.

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