CORNELIUS — The third annual town Earth Day celebration will have a few attendees of the reptilian sort to emphasize the importance of taking care of flora and fauna.

Thanks to a partnership with the Davidson College Herpetology Lab, this year’s event is slated to have turtles, snakes and baby alligators for people of all ages to admire.

The Cornelius Earth Day Celebration takes place 10 a.m.-noon April 26 at Robbins Park, 17738 W. Catawba Ave.

It is hosted by the Cornelius Department of Parks, Arts, Recreation and Culture in conjunction with Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationists.

“The event raises awareness in the community about the importance of the environment,” Cornelius Special Project Coordinator Mindi Stoner said.

The family-friendly event has activities for all ages. Inspired by the artwork of Bryant Holsenbeck at the Cornelius Arts Center, youngsters can create artwork using recyclable materials as well as take part in other arts and crafts.

“It’s for all families to come out and participate,” Stoner said.

At 11 a.m., someone from Mecklenburg County will give a 30-minute presentation on composting. 

To finish the event, attendees can participate in a 15-minute guided nature walk throughout Robbins Park, beginning at 11:45 a.m.

Stoner said the walk gives people the opportunity to learn more about the bamboo and other plants on the property and the ponds. Since Robbins Park is undergoing phase 2 construction, people can hear about how Davidson College is helping to temporarily relocate turtles that use it as their natural habitat until they can be returned there upon completion.

Also new this year is a project by Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationists to install a butterfly garden at the park.

While supplies last, attendees can receive free seedlings thanks to University Turf Management.


A clean sweep

In addition to offering ways to learn about the environment, adults are sought to help clean it up.

Following Earth Day festivities, a group will meet at Robbins Park to pick up litter 1-3 p.m.

Partnering with North Carolina Department of Transportation, volunteers will work on state roads, including Catawba Avenue, Westmoreland and N.C. 21. NCDOT will provide the supplies.

“This is our first time doing the litter sweep,” Stoner said, adding she plans for it to become a regular activity. “We hope volunteers go out and give their time to volunteer to keep Cornelius clean.”

Due to safety concerns, Stoner requests only adults volunteer because they are main roads.  

Participants are asked to register in advance by e-mailing


Davidson observes Earth Day 

Davidson also holds Earth Day festivities April 26, 9 a.m. until noon, at the Davidson Farmer's Market adjacent to town hall. 

The Earth Day Fair includes a prize for people who walk or bike to the market, a demonstration using a solar-powered oven and information about recycling, composting and raising backyard chickens provided by area organizations. Youngsters can also participate with green children's activities. 

Other scheduled initiatives are Bike/Walk to Town Day May 3, Bike to School Day May 7 and Bike to Work Week May 12-16. 

March 21, the town held its Arbor Day ceremony at the memorial tree garden next to Rooselvelt Wilson Park. The following day, residents and staff partnered with the Davidson Lands Conservancy group TreesDavidson to plant 12 crepe myrtle trees along Jackson Street.

Mayor John Woods also encouraged residents to not use electricity and participate in Earth Hour on March 29.