FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Fort Jackson will celebrate Earth Day with a special "Green Initiative Day" April 13 at Semmes Park.

It is the first event of its kind in recent years. Organizers are working to create an event that includes competitive activities, recycling opportunities and a number of educational presentations scheduled throughout the day.

"I wanted something that all of Fort Jackson could take part in," said Lisa McKnight, Fort Jackson's environmental awareness and outreach training coordinator. "We're going to be doing a lake cleanup during that time, and have a total of $1,500 in cash prizes that the thrift store has donated."

Prizes will be awarded to either the winners of the day's various events or by raffle for non-competitive events.

The day's events include:

8 to 9 a.m.; fun run and breakfast - The race will begin and end in Semmes Park. Participants are asked to bring old running shoes and to run with them draped over their necks. The shoes will be donated for recycling and reuse at the end of the run.

9 to 11 a.m.; fishing derby - Canoes and kayaks will be available for check-out at Semmes Lake for the fishing derby. Prizes will be awarded in three categories: biggest fish, smallest fish and ugliest fish. A "catch and release" policy is encouraged, but not required. Some poles and tackle will be available for use, but participants are encouraged to bring their own gear.

11 a.m. to noon; free hot dog lunch

Noon to 1 p.m.; recycle regatta - Teams will be challenged to create a raft or boat out of recycled materials and will race it on Semmes Lake. Teams must register by tomorrow. Awards will be given for winning the race, most creative use of materials, best costume and/or best name, and most spectacular failure.

Educational seminars, recycling collections, a lake clean-up and giveaways are scheduled to take place throughout the event. Visitors will be able to exchange up to eight incandescent light bulbs for new energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Electronic waste such as televisions, VCRs and computers can be disposed of during the event so they can be recycled in a safe and secure way. (No government hand receipt items are allowed.)

The Fort Jackson Fire Department will stage fire safety demonstrations, and the Fort Jackson Thrift Shop will collect clothing, shoes, toys and household items for its store on Lee Road. Clemson Extension will offer tips on organic pest control and container gardening. A master gardener will also be on hand to answer questions and provide soil testing. Special guests from around the Midlands will be present to provide useful tips and solutions for sustaining natural resources with educational booths set up around the lake.

"People will be able to walk away with a better knowledge of how to recycle and repurpose, and how to reuse materials," said Mark Smyers, outdoor recreation director for Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. "They'll also learn about the different eco-friendly technologies that are out there, and (can) generally just have a good time. We hope to do a healthy mix of education and general fun."

If it rains on the day of the event, Smyers said the Green Initiative Day will be rescheduled to 2 p.m., April 14. "We'll scale the event back and mainly focus on the recycle regatta," he said. "We didn't want people to put all that effort forward and then cancel. We still want to give them the opportunity to compete and race."

For more information on the event, call Mark Smyers at 751- 8707 or Lisa McKnight at 751-5971.

Page last updated Fri April 5th, 2013 at 12:01