A Festival of Creation spotlights environmentalism

Jay LaNunziata, Director of Christian Formation at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Greenville, and Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Jill Howell do a trash audit of garbage pulled from the Tar River at Town Common.

Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Jill Howell was invited to represent Sound Rivers at A Festival of Creation, a unique, two-day festival held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Greenville last weekend.

Billed as centering “around celebrating God’s creation of the Earth, and humanity’s role in caring for the Earth,” with an eye toward climate change and environmental justice, the festival promoted how to effect systemic change, as well as individual ways to protect to environment.

Friday evening, Sound Rivers had a table set up where event guests could find out more about Sound Rivers and the work we do. On display were the results of a quick trash cleanup Jill had done on the Tar River at Town Common the day before — an audit of what ends up in the waterways.

“Most people were concerned about trash and plastic. We tried to emphasized that everyone has their part to do, to focus on the reusable and not tossing things out, but also that there are greater systems at play that impact it — we recognize we don’t have any say in how things are packaged,” Jill said.

Saturday, Jill made two presentations about E. coli in our waterways and the Swim Guide testing process. Prior to the event, Jill had taken water samples at a few sites on the church campus and had the results ready to share. Samples came from an outdoor fountain, a culvert running next to the church which empties into the Tar River, and from the church’s baptismal font.

“Everything came back fine except the culvert, but even that was within recreational water-quality standards,” Jill said. “People were really interested in the sampling process, what we were sampling for and the results.”