Earth Day events at Garden of Gods attract 3,000

       An estimated 3,000 people - the most ever - flocked to Earth Day at the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center April 16.
       The people, including numerous children, roamed among the activities inside and outside the two-story building, and their cars overflowed the center's parking lots. In addition, about 100 people joined in a simultaneous Volksmarch and another 260 joined in a cleanup of the Garden, according to Melissa Walker, who helped coordinate the event for the Visitor Center.
       Attractions included educational displays, demonstrations, guided walks, arts and crafts, free admission to neighboring Rock Ledge Ranch and the chance to gaze out at the nearby Garden of the Gods rock formations framing Pikes Peak.
       “What a terrific Earth Day Celebration we had,” Walker said afterward. “The public really turned out.”
       She said the attendance has grown every year since the Visitor Center started the event seven years ago.
       “We think it's the biggest Earth Day event in the state,” she said.
       Meanwhile, at Rock Ledge Ranch, city staff and volunteers commemorated the day with the planting of 12 more apple trees in the traditional fruit orchard that started being restored last year. The new trees, along with the 10 last year, were donated by the Broadmoor Garden Club, which has a tradition of helping different organizations in town with plantings.
       “It's so exciting and so appropriate,” said Diana Francese, one of the leaders of Rock Ledge's volunteer Living History Association, noting that the trees are being planted where the original Chambers family orchard was in the 1880s. Only one tree remains from that orchard - a Jonathan which the Garden Club has used to graft a new tree that will likely be planted within a couple of years, Francese said.
       Upcoming… The Cata-mount Institute is sponsoring an Earth Day celebration (closer to the actual April 22 date) at the Beidleman Environmental Center, 740 W. Caramillo St. (in the Mesa Springs area of the Westside), from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 23.
       A variety of family-oriented activities are scheduled for the event. Admission is free.

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