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San Diego celebrates Earth Day at County Operations Center

This is Earth Day. From cleanups to fairs, a number of events were held around the county to mark the day. KPBS reporter John Carroll takes us to one of them.

Earth Day is a day set aside for Mother Earth, our island home. A day when we’re meant to think about what we’re doing to her, what we should be doing for her.

Those thoughts were very much on the minds of people attending the county’s annual Earth Day Fair on Friday.

“We celebrate Earth Day every day at the county," said Donna Durckel, who works with the county's land use and environment group.

At the County Operations Center in Kearny Mesa, various county departments showed what they’re doing in the effort to be good stewards of terra firma.

“We have everything from electric vehicles to information on recycling," Durckel said about what county employees are doing to support a clean environment. "There’s a snake and a taxidermy hawk that brings attention to our wildlife preservation efforts and conservation efforts. You can even plant some plants in our community garden."

In the garden, master gardener Nancy Helt showed us how to plant an Asclepias fascicularis, a narrowleaf milkweed native to California.

“It’s important for succulents and also our natives to be watered fairly heavily when we first plant them," she said.

The great thing about succulents is after you get them going, they don’t need much water and that's good for drought-stricken California. And gardening itself, Helt said that’s good for people.

“This is wonderful therapy. People love gardening — all age groups," she said. "It just seems people are drawn to it. It makes them feel good."

At a time in world history when there is so much bad and sad news every day, hanging out at the County Operations Center's garden for a while was a real shot in the arm; learning about things like a program run by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department where inmates grow and tend trees that are then transplanted into county parks, or something as mundane, but important, as places to recycle stuff like batteries.

Being at this Earth Day Fair was a great way to spend some time, to be reminded that this is it. There is no planet B.