GUILFORD TWP. — Jackie, a one-eyed barn owl from Medina Raptor Center, drew plenty of attention Saturday during the 23rd annual Earth Day Festival hosted at Buffalo Creek Retreat on Hubbard Valley Road Saturday.
Leslie Wiener, Jackie’s handler, told visitors that a park ranger found a young Jackie about 10 years ago in the wild. A sibling had attacked her, which is not unusual, because strong barn owls tend to go after weaker ones, even in the same nest.
Jackie was brought to Medina Raptor Center, where she has lived ever since. Due to her disability, she wouldn’t survive if released.
“We couldn’t save her eye, but she has been a great ambassador, helping us teach people about birds,” Wiener said.
Jackie wasn’t the only animal appearing at the Earth Day Festival. The all-day free event, hosted by the Medina County Park District, also featured spiders, millipedes, turtles, bearded dragons, bees and tegus.
In addition, North Central Ohio K-9 Search and Rescue demonstrated the tracking abilities of its dogs.
The festival included educational exhibits, including those by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Medina County Soil and Water Conservation District, Chippewa Lake Watershed and Medina County Herb Society.
Outside, families flew kites and feasted on gourmet hot dogs and french fries. Those who participated in a fishing derby won prizes.
The eclectic festival was one of countless Earth Day activities across the globe. According to Earth Day Network, more than 1 billion people celebrate Earth Day every year.
Another Earth Day celebration took place Saturday in Austin Badger Park, 5741 River Styx Road, Montville Township. Families donated $10 to plant a sapling. The event also included kite-flying, nature hikes, scavenger hunts and live music.
Also at Austin Badger Lodge, visitors learned how to help revive the declining eastern bluebird population and attract the birds to the area.
The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970. It brought attention to environmental concerns of the time, including air pollution and oil spills, according to Earth Day Network. Millions of Americans demonstrated in streets, parks and auditoriums.
By the end of 1970, President Richard Nixon had created the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Congress had amended the Clean Air Act. In 1972, Congress tightened the Clean Water Act and in 1973 passed the Endangered Species Act.