Erin Havlik started with an empty butter tub and ended up with a drum at the “Recalypso” workshop at Saturday’s Earth Day celebration.
The 9-year-old from Hillsboro added beads to the plastic container and then decided adding some rice would create a nice additional sound.
Havlik was one of hundreds of children who made instruments out of recycled materials while steel drum musician Ian Dobson played to the crowd. Poor residents of Trinidad and Tobago invented steel drums when all they had was cast off metal, Dobson said, so the “Recalypso” made a perfect Earth Day event.
“It’s important to encourage young people’s creativity and show them how they can be resourceful and innovative,” he said. “And it’s especially important on days like this.”
Havlik said she liked creating something out of nothing.
“It’s fun that you get to make instruments out of regular stuff you didn’t know could make music,” the 9-year-old said. “It’s awesome.”
Longview’s Mara Bridges agreed, proudly showing off the “Rattlesnake” drum she made with a metal can, beads and beans.
“We thought we’d check out the whole thing, but so far we haven’t left this spot because they’re enjoying it so much,” dad Michael Bridges said of Mara and her brother 6-year-old Mason, who had a whole pile of newly crafted instruments.
When they did venture out they had plenty of company. More than a thousand area residents visited Saturday’s event at the Cowlitz County Expo Center, soaking up songs, information and occasional sunshine.
Booths ran the gamut of topics and even included a 48-foot “wildlife response and rehabilitation unit” trailer used to wash and treat birds contaminated with oil. While the climbing wall and inflatable tunnels were a draw for children, many were also seen proudly clutching seedlings given out to take home and plant.
Kelso’s Mattalyn Axtell learned which plastics can and can’t be recycled at the Longview Recycles table, saying she likes sorting recyclables at home as well.
“It’s good because it helps the environment,” the 10-year-old said while showing off the sunflower seed she planted at another booth. “It’s pretty cool.”