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CARBONDALE — Without the Earth, we wouldn’t know about any species, so it’s only fitting that a group of individuals get together every year to host several puppet-making workshops for the All-Species Earth Day Parade on Sunday, April 22.

In order to march in the parade, just show up at the LIFE Community Center at 11 a.m., on April 22. The parade will begin at 11:30 a.m., and will culminate at Turley Park. Many marchers will have puppets created in one of the several puppet-making workshops, but there will be plenty of extra puppets for anybody who wants one.

Cade Bursell, one of the Puppetistas, said not only do children and adults alike enjoy the process of making the puppets, but many people are learning about new species at the same times. Usually, she said, people have to do research in order to make their puppet more authentic.

““We are celebrating all species,” she said. “People are really creative.”

Bursell said people from all over the region attend the puppet-making workshops, along with the parade. She said this past year, there were about 200 people in the parade, which was interrupted by rain. Additionally, there are people making their own puppets at home who join the group on Earth Day.

The group does get an assist from Carbondale Community Arts and the Carbondale Park District. CCA helps with a grant for painting materials, while the Park District gives them access to Turley Park for the Earth Day celebration after the parade.

Bursell said the kinds of people who attend the parade are really a mixed bag. She said students and faculty from SIU, local artists, and community members are all involved.

“It is a real nice combination of university and community folks that come together to make this happen,” she said.

Lisa Barnes, local artist and fellow Puppetista, said most of the materials used for the puppet-making are recycled materials that are picked up before they are sent to the local landfill.

She said she makes it a practice to do an inventory of local businesses to see what is thrown away each year, so supplies are available.

Sally Boyer-Myers of Murphysboro was helping her daughter Madeleine, 7, stuffed an unicorn that will be eventually rainbow-colored. 

“This is a wonderful event that brings adults and children together,” Boyer-Myers said. “Sometimes you have events that are either for adults or just for children — this marries the two.”


on twitter: @zd2000


Dustin Duncan is a reporter for The Southern Illinoisan covering Carbondale.

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