1A 10-day series of events scheduled for tomorrow through Sunday, April 26, will highlight the area's commitment to sustainable living, keeping the local area clean and instilling pride in green activities for future generations.

The Greater Newburyport Eco Collaborative is coordinating the many events, the first significant one of which is Saturday's second annual Spring Flower Market from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Bartlet Mall at High and Pond streets in Newburyport. (The rain date is Sunday.)

The Flower Market will host 10 farms that will be selling flowers, herbs and other plantings. The farmers, organized by Dick Chase of Arrowhead Farm in Newburyport, will be providing information on their sustainable farming practices as well.

"Sometimes when you organize events, you have plenty of issues and problems," said Linda Guthrie, a volunteer with the Eco Collaborative and co-chairwoman of the Earth Day Celebration. "But this year, Dick Chase waved a magic wand, and it all happened."

A Greater Newburyport Eco Collaborative Green Buildings Tour also on Saturday will highlight about a dozen spots in the community that exemplify green living and business practices.

A large canvas will be set up for the public to paint as the Earth Day Mural. There will also be an Eco Info Center, featuring several local organizations — including Newburyport's Energy Advisory Committee — demonstrating their contributions to making the surrounding area more green.

Imagine Studios is sponsoring the entertainment for the day, with a lineup boasting the Pat Keenan Trio cover band, acoustic guitarist Scott Ouellette, the rockabilly dance band Liz Frame and The Kickers, and traditional and original folk songs from Alyce Katchmar, Deb Hardy and Kerry Mullen.

Earth Day Celebration organizers are also excited about hosting the Merrimack River Watershed Council's annual "State of the Merrimack River Address" on Saturday, April 25, at 2 p.m. at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in Newburyport. The event will offer an update on the condition of the waterway.

"As far as I know, this is the first time they've held this major address in Newburyport," Guthrie said. "It's usually in Haverhill or Lawrence. This is a very big deal."

The celebration will culminate with the first Earth Expo on Sunday, April 26, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Maudslay Arts Center in Newburyport's Maudslay State Park. About 20 eco-friendly artisans will be selling their creations, including eco-friendly clothing. There will be live music, a Native American Blessing of the Earth and the Dirty DuEarthlon athletic event, which consists of two run-bike-run trails for different age groups that can be done individually or as a team relay.

Throughout the 10 days, numerous trail and park cleanups, nature walks, environmental talks, school field trips and assemblies are planned. Lead sponsors for Earth Day Celebration 2009 are Jewett Farms Studio, which is hosting demonstrations led by local chefs on cooking with organic food, and Chase & Lunt Insurance, with supporting sponsor Ransom Environmental Consultants, all of Newburyport.

The Greater Newburyport Eco Collaborative is hoping the events will help spread information on how people can continue to do their part to preserve the planet.

"Some people embrace cleaning up the environment and sustainability, and some don't," Guthrie said. "But there's a very large group in the middle who are interested, don't know a lot and want to know more. They need to see examples.

"Everyone is concerned about their relationship with the Earth. Through this, we want all their questions to be answered."

DID YOU KNOW ...

20 million people celebrated the first Earth Day in 1970. That same year, President Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency with a mission to protect the environment and public health, and Congress amended the Clean Air Act to set national air quality, auto emission and anti-pollution standards.

In 1972, Congress passed the Clean Water Act, limiting raw sewage and other pollutants flowing into rivers, lakes and streams. At the time, only 36 percent of the nation's assessed stream miles were safe for uses such as fishing and swimming. Today, about 60 percent are considered safe for such uses.

In 1996, the bald eagle was removed from the endangered species list, reflecting its recovery since a 1972 ban on DDT, a cancer-causing pesticide.

Source: www.epa.gov/earthday

The Green Team

The Greater Newburyport Eco Collaborative was established last year with a mission of "fostering a greener Greater Newburyport."

The group aims to honor the Earth by identifying, sharing and celebrating local, sustainable practices in the region. It is a combined effort of residents, businesses and organizations in Amesbury, Newbury, Newburyport, Salisbury and West Newbury.

While Earth Day itself is observed on April 22, Greater Newburyport will celebrate it with 10 days of events starting tomorrow through April 26.

The Greater Newburyport Eco Collaborative is producing the Earth Day celebration in partnership with the city of Newburyport, the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Greater Newburyport Environmental Network.

EARTH DAY EVENTS

For a complete schedule of Greater Newburyport Earth Day Celebration events, see www.ecocollaborative.org and www.newburyportearthday.info.