Marion church celebrates Earth Day with celebration service, cleanup

Apr 24, 2018

Marion's First Congregational Church celebrated Earth Day on April 22 by putting its words into action, and pitching in to clean up near Marion's Town Wharf.

The church's pastor, Rev. MaryAnn Purtill, led a special Earth Day-themed service on Earth Day, where members of the congregation celebrated "God's creation."  Several youth members of the church performed a small skit based upon the recycling tenets of "reduce, reuse, recycle."

The celebration and subsequent cleanup was partly motivated by Sippican School student and First Congregational Church attendee Lily Ambrosi, who decided that she wanted to help tackle trash pollution after watching a documentary on the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch."

The garbage patch is a swirling vortex of plastic and other trash debris, spanning from the western coast of North America to Japan. The patch is estimated to be twice the size of Texas.

"Learning about it made me cry," Lily said. "The worst part was that it was all true."

Ocean animals often mistake the trash for food. Loggerhead sea turtles tend to mistake plastic trash bags for jellyfish, their favorite food. Albatrosses mistake plastic pellets for fish eggs and feed them to their chicks, who die of starvation or ruptured organs. Seals and other marine mammals can become entangled in abandoned plastic fishing nets.

Learning about the garbage patch spurred Lily to look for ways to make a change.  She contacted Rev. Purtill about celebrating Earth Day, and cleaning up the trash left by the water in Marion.

Purtill agreed with Lily, and organized the Earth Day celebration, as well as organizing a time and place for church members to help clean up.

After the service, members of the church formed a procession down to Marion's Town Wharf, where they spent time cleaning up trash and restoring the ground to its natural condition.