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Celebrating the planet with gusto

Every year, people in Olympia, Wash., gather to celebrate the goodness of the earth and bring attention to the plight of species at risk.

Procession_ferns_smiling_mg_5795 The city hosts a glorious parade called the Procession of the Species.

A group of citizens in Olympia was looking for a way to recognize Earth Day’s 25th Anniversary and to mark action in Congress to renew the Endangered Species Act in 1995. They created a community celebration now attended by thousands of people every year.

More than 100 volunteers take on the various jobs needed to make the procession happen.

Procession_knox_img_5799 A studio opens before the parade where people can make huge puppets, floats, masks, headdresses, and banners. Recycled materials and arts and crafts supplies are available. Workshops are offered.

In addition to costumes representing species, musical and dance groups join the fun. Participants and spectators are encouraged to bring two cans of food for the local food bank.

The Procession of the Species has grown from 800 people participating in the parade to more than 2,500.

For today’s parade, we had good weather. Thank goodness. Lately in Olympia it’s been rain, rain, rain.

See The Olympian article, "Species Take to the Street for Procession," for a report on the parade. A video clip is included.

For details, see Process of the Species — Celebration.

If you’d like to start a procession in your community, see Start a New Procession.

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