The 50th anniversary of Earth Day on Wednesday was celebrated in DeKalb County with a visit from Captain Planet.
Captain Planet traveled by firetruck around local neighborhoods, visiting Kirkland and Fairdale in the morning and Genoa and Kingston in the afternoon.
Ryan Hecker, lieutenant with Kirkland Community Fire District, said that the Earth Day Parade was the first of its kind.
“We had never done anything like this before, but we wanted to give the community something to look forward to and bring a smile to kids’ faces,” he said. “It also gave us an opportunity to bring people together, yet staying apart while social distancing, to celebrate Earth Day.”
Hecker said that between 200 and 300 people watched the parade in Kirkland, which featured eight emergency vehicles, including a firetruck, ambulance and police car.
“People from out of town came to see the parade,” he said. “People of all ages were watching: young kids, parents, young adults, teenagers, seniors. It was something fun and new to see. How many times do you get to see Captain Planet come to town?”
The Earth Day event was coordinated and promoted by Joe McClintock, Kingston resident and local solar energy consultant and Joni Watson with The Enchanted Valley Farm in Kingston.
The event was sponsored by Kirkland Fire Department, Genoa-Kingston Fire Department, 350 Kishwaukee, The Enchanted Valley Farm in Kingston and Summit Solar.
McClintock said the idea for the event came after living through Hurricane Sandy and being in Manhattan on 9/11.
“During everything we’re going through with the coronavirus, I wanted to support the community and do something fun for Earth Day,” McClintock said. “I’ve always loved Captain Planet and Earth Day, and having Captain Planet visit neighborhoods, kids and families seemed like a great idea.”
Dave Davis, a board member of 350Kishwaukee, said that the Earth Day parades were a great way to celebrate the holiday.
“It also ties into the underlying goal of 350Kishwaukee, which is educating people about the issue of climate change so that they’re aware of it," Davis said. "On Earth Day, everyone is concerned about saving the planet and the environment, but they should be thinking about it every day. If you’re think about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel use, every day is Earth Day.”