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Olympia marches for the species and the earth

The sun came out today for the Procession of the Species, the 15th time residents of Olympia, Wash., have gathered to draw attention to endangered species and our relationship to the earth.

Zebra Dancers 2009 IMG_6560 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.

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.

Nemo Close 2009 IMG_6310 In addition to costumes representing species, musical and dance groups, which this year included a Zebra Band, add a lively beat to the parade. 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. About 25,000 people watch the parade.

Crab Orange Low 2009 IMG_6293 The procession will be featured in the July issue of Reader’s Digest in a story about the best things in America, Procession founder Eli Sterling said in an article in The Olympian newspaper.

For details on the event, see Procession of the Species Celebration.

If you’d like to plan a Procession of the Species celebration in your community, see Start a New Procession.

Copyright 2009, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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