OCEANSIDE — The Earth Day celebration at Mission San Luis Rey kicked off with the annual ladybug release in the rose garden and continued with hands-on activities for children, pet adoptions, a plant sale and other Earth-friendly fun.
Tables of colorful flowers greeted visitors at the entrance of the Earth Day celebration. It’s a plant sale many gardeners mark on their calendar. Thousands of donated flowers and vegetable plants are sold at the price of six plants for $5. Succulents propagated at the mission are also for sale.
“The plant sale earns about $6,000 each year,” Friar James Lockman said. “Earth Day money is used on the mission restoration project.”
The Earth Day celebration paid homage to all living things. Dogs and cats from the no-kill Camp Pendleton Animal Control and Adoption Program were available for on-the-spot adoption.
“We’re located on base,” Christine Dell, a volunteer for Camp Pendleton Animal Control, said. “We collect pets when a military owner deploys or moves into a base house that doesn’t allow pets.”
“Patriotic pets” at the Camp Pendleton shelter are available for anyone to adopt including nonmilitary. The shelter spays, neuters and microchips pets.
Children took part in activities like sand painting and vegetable planting.
“There are lots of kid activities,” Lisa Courtemanche of Oceanside said. “We just finished holding ladybugs.”
Michael Kish, owner of Green Acres Nursery, helped children plant tomatoes in pots to take home. “If I give them a flower to take home they love it for a week,” Kish said. “If I give them a tomato to take home they love it for a month.”
To celebrate Earth Day, the mission’s rose garden was open for visitors to enjoy. “It’s the prettiest rose garden I’ve seen,” Dave Coe of Oceanside said. “It puts the one in Balboa Park to shame.”