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FARMINGTON – Earth Day is an opportunity to remind people about the different environmental issues facing the community, according to Donna Thatcher, education coordinator at the Riverside Nature Center.

The nature center will host its inaugural Earth Day celebration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. While Earth Day is Friday, organizations like the Riverside Nature Center and Aztec Ruins National Monument have celebrations planned for Saturday.

Thatcher said nature center officials decided to have a celebration because of the public's interest.

"We have so many people interested in the stuff we do here," she said.

The various activities planned for Saturday include water cycle activities, recycled art and making nature journals. Waste Management representatives will also be there to help people sign up for curbside recycling, and the local bluegrass band Chokecherry Jam will perform live music.

"We're trying to have things that appeal to everyone," Thatcher said.

While the main purpose is to celebrate Earth Day, Thatcher also hopes to spotlight the nature center and its surrounding parks.

"We're reminding people to appreciate what we've got here," she said.

That includes the river walk through Animas and Berg parks.

"That's just one of the gems of Farmington," Thatcher said.

The nature center will be one of the local Earth Day events. In Aztec, the Aztec Ruins National Monument has hosted a celebration for the past eight years. This year's event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

The annual celebration has become one of the largest events the national monument hosts, according to a press release from the monument. More than 800 people attended the Earth Day celebration last year, according to the press release.

The event is coinciding with National Parks Week, and the entrance fee will be waived.

The celebration will include community booths, as well as demonstrations. People will be able to learn about gardening, erosion control, water conservation and other topics during the "Ecowise"-theme event.

Families will also be able to take part in activities geared toward children. One of those activities will be building walls. Park Ranger Danielle York said children will be allowed to build a pueblo-style wall.

"Earth Day is a great opportunity to focus attention on ways that everyone can reduce their impact on the ecosystem," she said.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

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