While Ardmore’s annual Earth 1st Expo is all about protecting mother nature, she hasn’t always been cooperative the day of the event. That’s why this year the event will be moving inside, taking place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 13 at Heritage Hall.  The event will include guest speakers, activities, shopping opportunities, recycling and door prizes.

Ardmore Beautification Council Executive Director Julie Maher explained the reason behind the change of venue.

“For the past several years the weather’s been iffy — cold and windy.  And, of course, we had to cancel last year because of the torrential rain,” Maher said. “So I think we made the right call.”

She said the event will focus on providing information that would otherwise not be easily accessible in the area. Multiple guest speakers are slated to discuss their areas of expertise.

State Sen. Frank Simpson R-Springer will speak about Oklahoma's environmental agenda. Jeanette Nance, executive director of Keep Oklahoma Beautiful, will discuss environmental stewardship through activities such as litter pickups. Jeri Fleming, assistant director and outreach education coordinator for the Oklahoma Water Survey, will discuss water erosion, rain barrels and rain gardening. Kasey Renteria, executive director of the Ardmore Animal Shelter, will discuss pet overpopulation and its impact on the environment. Paul Tucker from Carter County EMS will discuss emergency preparedness during tornado season.

Maher said the expo will also include fun activities like crafts for children and adults and a unique petting zoo, Oklahoma State University’s Insect Adventure, where those who dare will be allowed to handle insect, arachnids and arthropods.

Attendees will also be able to purchase flowers, trees, and handcrafted items created from repurposed materials. The event will also provide three door prizes: a chicken coop complete with chicks, rain barrels, and a gift basket from Des’ Veggies including flowers, garden supplies and a gift certificate.

Another major attraction is the recycling event which will take place in the parking lot east of Heritage Hall. Among the many items accepted for recycling will be electronics, tires and aluminum. This event also offers free document shredding.

“We’re really excited for Earth 1st Expo this year,” Maher said. “Everyone should come down, get involved, and ask plenty of questions.