COLORADO SPRINGS — On Saturday, Garden of the Gods was bustling with people coming together to celebrate the 25th Annual Earth Day Celebration. Even though it’s not Earth day yet, they decided to celebrate a little early.

“I love earth. I can’t get enough of it,” said Sheila-Esther Love.

The event brought together local groups and people from the community for an educational and fun afternoon.

The Earth day celebration was planned early to bring awareness to the environment. Credit: Joe Swanson

“We’re bringing awareness to Earth day,” the organizer, Bret Tennis said. “The actual Earth day is on April 22nd, but we’re celebrating today.”

Tennis, who is also the Garden of the Gods park operations administrator, said part of the festivities included a bunch of different activities all designed to help people learn more about our planet including science tables, live animals and educational games.

Live animals included a black vulture, a bull snake, a Western Hognose snake, a spotted salamander, and a scorpion. Credit: Rachel Saurer

Another element of the celebration was a park clean-up.

“Part of this event, especially in the morning is allowing volunteers and families to come and help clean up the park and get out and do your part. Feels good to do something for Earth day that way,” Tennis said.

The organizer said this is a day where looking after our planet matters even more.

“There’s a lot of improvement going on and a lot of really good things happening for the environment and it’s important to celebrate and acknowledge what we’ve done. And so I’d like to bring awareness to that. But there’s always more to do,” he said.

Science tables included fun activities like roasting marshmallows over mirrors. Credit: Joe Swanson

Some who attended the event said there was no better place to bring this awareness.

“It’s… one of the most beautiful like the Garden [of] the Gods and all that’s just so amazing,” Love said.

And also a place to start the conversation early before Earth day finally arrives.

“It’s our earth, it’s our home, it’s our planet. It’s our space ship that we’re traveling through the universe on and it’s important to celebrate the people that are doing the most that they can to help protect the environment,” Tennis said.

Tennis said the best way to spend Earth day is to get out in nature — whether that’s in an open space or in your own backyard.