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      Thousands attend Columbia's Earth Day Festival

      Nice weather and warm temperatures drew thousands of people out to Columbia's annual Earth Day celebration.

      The celebration was originally scheduled for Sunday, April 27, but it got pushed back because of rain.

      There was no shortage of things to see or people to talk to at the festival, 40 booths bigger than the 2013 festival. Many vendors an organizations were present, including environmental advocacy groups. Jeanne Szkolka and her group It's Our Wild Nature spent the day playing instruments and singing to promote awareness of their campaign to preserve 35 acres of undeveloped land near Hinkson Creek.

      Szkolka said it takes everyone working together to save mid-Missouri's wild places.

      "It's important because it's in the middle of town and it's a wild space," Szkolka said. "It hasn't been developed as of yet, and we would like to keep it that way. We would like to have a space that is just a wild space and not do anything to it."

      Organizer Mark Haim said the theme of conservation and proper environmental stewardship are the reasons he and over a thousand volunteers worked to put the Earth Day festival together.

      "We as a planetary society are facing multiple interconnected crises that threaten our children, our grand kids," Haim said. "They threaten our future. So every year, we gather to honor the Earth, to educate as to how we might live in more sustainable, more Earth-friendly ways."

      Although most people were there to enjoy different parts of the festival, many of them said the reason they came out was to support proper stewardship of the environment human beings collectively share.