Swampscott rallies for planet in Earth Fest

SWAMPSCOTT — It’s Earth Fest time on the Town Hall lawn this Saturday with local organizations coming together to educate residents about the environment and inspire them to take action.

Activities run from 10 am to 1 pm outside Town Hall. The rain date is Saturday, May 7.

Planning that began with the Friends of the Swampscott Rail Trail (FSRT) organizing a bicycle sale to fundraise for the trail grew into the Fest, with other organizations around the town jumping in to help.

“It is really focused on the environment,” said FSRT volunteer Jonathan Leamon.

The Fest kicks off on Saturday with the Swampscott Tree Committee giving away 100 white oak saplings on a first-come-first-served basis starting at 10 am, sponsored by the Swampscott Conservancy.

Each household can get up to two trees, which are native to the area and non-invasive.

“Native trees offer our town multiple benefits, including improved stormwater management, cleaner air, reduced heat and raised property values,” said Jim Olivetti, a member of the Tree Committee.

Naturalist Douglas Tallamy said native white oaks are the “very best trees you can plant in your yard for wildlife,”

The Climate Action & Resilience Coalition will share with residents information about sea-level rise, climate-change priorities of the town, and community-impact calculations.

The Solid Waste Advisory Committee will have the latest information on recycling, and the Swampscott Racial Justice Action Group will be raising awareness about environmental justice.

The Swampscott Public Library will be displaying Earth Day books and Girl Scouts will showcase their conservation service project.

Other participating organizations include the Renewable Energy Committee, Swampscott Conservancy, Board of Health, and City Nature Challenge, the latter of which will be showing how to use iNaturalist to document local flora and fauna.

During the Earth Fest, children will be able to take part in activities and lawn games, while adults can participate in a raffle to win books for kids from Usborne or shop for artwork by natural materials artist Hannah Cloud Sharpless or for sustainable skin-care products from New England Apothecary.

Anyone is welcome to join a litter pickup around the Town Hall and Linscott Park during the event.

FSRT raised $150,000 with bike sales, Leamon said. The money was donated to the town for the completion of the Rail Trail.

Residents can expect to see a selection of several dozen used but rideable bikes on Saturday that will be sold at a range of prices. Leamon said a bike might cost between $10 to $15 or several hundred dollars, depending on its condition and type.

“It really runs the gamut. Some of them are really fancy bikes and some are not so fancy,” said Leamon. “Most people can find something.”

The bikes come from families whose kids outgrew them or older residents who don’t ride them anymore. Resale helps keep them out of solid waste, Leamon said.

FSRT fixes the bikes, gets them to a rideable condition and prices them at half the price one might find on the internet for a similar used bicycle.

“That seems to be the right price point,” said Leamon, citing his previous sales experience. “We want people to get a good deal, but at the same time it is a fundraiser, and it is funding the Rail Trail.”

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