Apr. 20—Earth Day Aiken celebrations are returning this week, just in an online format.
Although the City of Aiken Energy and Environmental Committee has moved its sights to activities that could be conducted online this year, the occasion is colored by important facets such as recognition of two individuals who have carried out environmental work.
This is the first time the virtual observance of Earth Day has happened this way with the awards and recognition being done on a virtual setup.
The virtual observance of Earth Day was canceled twice last year due to coronavirus health concerns.
"It was a pretty regrettable decision each time," said John Carman, a member of the Earth Day Aiken Planning Group and the City of Aiken Energy and Environmental Committee.
Three elements have been declared part of the virtual Earth Day Aiken event this year: a youth art contest, the announcement of two individuals as the recipients of the Green Horse Environmental Stewardship Award, and an announcement for the installation of an electric vehicle charging station on Laurens Street in the median near the entrance to The Alley.
Carman said organizers are trying to get the information out during the week of Earth Day, which falls on or around April 22 each year.
"We're looking forward to next year already with a return to an in-person event on Newberry Street and The Alley," Carman said.
Dr. Harry Shealy and Gerald McDonald will receive the Green Horse Environmental Stewardship Award. Carman said in an April 16 phone interview they're aware they've been recognized, though they haven't been presented with a photo or a certificate yet.
These men received the award in the Citizen Volunteer category, according to Carman. The two will be recognized for their individual contributions to conservation efforts that have helped identify and preserve local natural resources.
This is the first time the award has been made by the city's Energy and Environmental Committee.
The virtual observance of Earth Day can be viewed on https://earthdayaiken.org/
The website will eventually feature the artwork and names of the youth art contest winners, who were selected Monday. Submissions for the art contest were chosen from two categories: those from students in first through fifth grades and students in sixth through eighth grades.
Information about the charging station can also be found on the website at a later date.
The Earth Day Aiken festival will be held next year on April 16, 2022.