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The annual celebration of mother nature and environmental advocacy, Earth Day, falls on April 22 this year. For the special occasion, several Columbus area groups are hosting events and activities next week. 

The Rethink Recycling art exhibit will be on display from April 10 through 17 at Central Community College’s Columbus campus inside the West Education Center, 4500 63rd St. The exhibit is comprised of sculptures made of recycled materials crafted by Columbus area students.

At least 20 works of art will be in display as a part of the exhibit. A reception will be held from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on April 17. Prizes will be awarded to students as a part of a competition. This event is made possible through a partnerships with CCC's Sustainability Office, Keep Columbus Beautiful and the Platte County Extension Office.

Other events are planned to occur throughout the day on April 17.  From 1-3 p.m. there will be an expo with student and vendor booths on sustainability on display. From 3:30-4 p.m., Nebraska Extension Office Educator Kelly Feehan will be giving a walking tour of the campus’s Pollinator Garden located to the east of the East Education building, near the orchard trees. Feehan will discuss the campus’ arboretum and the importance of native plants and pollinators. From 7-9 p.m. at the West Education Building, room 205, there will be a presentation on Storm Spotter Training.

The art exhibit is the brainchild of Hannah Deblauwe, the conservation director at the Nebraska Conservation Education Fund. Deblauwe said she was inspired by seeing other works of recycled art and wanted to help promote the concept in the area.

“The idea is to bring more awareness about recycling and the things we through away and how we can repurpose them into something new,” Deblauwe said. “That’s the core of it.”

Keep Columbus Beautiful Executive Director Vanessa Oceguera said the exhibit and contest is a great way to showcase how to reuse material.

“We’re just trying to show that even your old trash, what you would consider your trash or recyclables, has beauty,” Oceguera said. “You can use whatever you have at home and make it into art.”

“... It’s a great opportunity for people in the community to come out and take a peek at what some of the kids can come up with, how creative they can be, and just look at some really neat pieces and hopefully gather some information that they can take home from the event on either recycling or reducing or reusing.

Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.

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Eric Schucht earned his bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Oregon in 2018. He has written for The Cottage Grove Sentinel, The Creswell Chronicle, The Pacific Northwest Inlander and The Roseburg News-Review.

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