In 1978, James Bailey was a member of the U.S. Coast Guard working out of Long Beach, Calif.
"I saw a lot of damage caused by oil spills and it made an impression on me," Bailey said.
It also persuaded Bailey to join the environmental protection movement. In 1989, he founded Earth Day Arizona, a nonprofit group run by volunteers who coordinate Earth Day gatherings each April 22.
"Earth Day is an opportunity for families to get together and enjoy themselves as well as learn about the environment," Bailey said.
He and other members of Earth Day Arizona are preparing for the 2004 Earth Day celebration from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Scottsdale Civic Center Fountain Stage.
"We’re asking folks to bring picnic baskets, blankets and chairs and sit under the stars," Bailey said.
There will be musical performances on the stage, food for sale and exhibits.
The gathering is also being sponsored by The Village Connection, a company that places nannies and specialneeds therapists for children in Valley homes.
Laura Lofgreen, co-owner and communications director of The Village Connection, said the environment is important in children’s lives.
She was Arizona State University’s student body government environmental director and started ASU’s first environmental club in 1997.
"Teaching my sons to love and respect this beautiful world is part of my mothering makeup," Lofgreen said.
Proceeds and donations from 2004 Earth Day will benefit the Children’s Health Environmental Coalition, a nonprofit agency seeking to improve environmental education, especially about toxins affecting children.
Awards will be presented to Scottsdale students, youth groups and clubs at 6 p.m.
Earth Day picnic
What: 2004 Earth Day: "A Family Event — Picnic Under the Stars"
Where: Scottsdale Civic Center Fountain Stage, 7380 E. Second St.
When: 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday
Information: (602) 405-7402 or www.earthday.net
About Earth Day
Earth Day is an international event focusing on the environment. It was founded in 1970 by Gaylord Nelson, former senator and governor of Wisconsin. The Earth Day Network reaches more than 12,000 organizations in 174 countries.
Source: Earth Day Network