Coker College to Host Annual Earth Day Celebration at Kalmia Gardens April 9

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Hartsville, S.C. – March 31, 2016 – Coker College will host its annual Earth Day Festival on Saturday, April 9 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Kalmia Gardens.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will host activities for all ages including falconry, beekeeping, nature walks, a reptile collection, a plant sale, music, arts and crafts, games and displays on environmental research and alternative energy.

Bill Alexander, former chair of the biology department at the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics, will lead a nature walk at 9:30 a.m., and Valeria Avanzato, assistant professor of biology at Coker College, will lead a nature walk at 11 a.m. (Participants are encouraged to bring binoculars.) Also starting at 11 a.m., Lori Strickland from the Hartsville library will host a story hour for children with nature-themed books. Other attractions include falconry demonstrations, food and drinks, live reggae music and more.

Kalmia Gardens will also host its annual Duck Cup fundraiser at 12 p.m. For a $5 donation, participants receive a ticket that corresponds to a numbered rubber duck that will “compete” in a race down Black Creek. Ticket-holders of winning rubber ducks will receive prizes. (If the race cannot be held due to weather or unfavorable creek conditions, a random drawing will be done for winning prizes.) Tickets can be purchased at the event or in advance by contacting Kalmia Gardens at 843-383-8145 or

Established in 1935 and open to the public, Kalmia Gardens includes a historic house and a 35-acre private botanical garden. The Thomas E. Hart House, built in 1820 with timber cut from the property, and surrounding gardens are on the National Register of Historic Places. The site boasts a wide array of rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas, tea-olives, dogwood and the Gardens’ namesake—Kalmia latifolia, the Mountain Laurel. It also features a daylily display garden that has been recognized by the American Hemerocallis Society. Kalmia Gardens is part of the scenic South Carolina Cotton Trail and is the gateway to the 796-acre Segars-McKinnon Heritage Preserve.

For more than 40 years, Earth Day, which is celebrated on April 22, has helped draw attention and resources to critical issues of environmental sustainability. Annually, more than one billion people in 190 countries participate in Earth Day activities, making it the largest secular civic event in the world. For more information about Earth Day, visit

Kalmia Gardens of Coker College is located at 1624 West Carolina Avenue in Hartsville. For more information about Coker’s Earth Day Festival, call 843-383-8145 or email



Coker College is a student-focused, private liberal arts college located in Hartsville, South Carolina. Coker combines round table, discussion-based learning with hands-on experiences to encourage active participation in and out of the classroom. A supportive, close-knit community prepares Coker students with the confidence and practical life skills they need to reach their personal best, in college and beyond.

Founded in 1908, Coker is a bachelor’s and master’s degree-granting institution and competes in 21 NCAA Division II sports. Coker is ranked among the "Best Colleges" in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review, and by Washington Monthly as one of the Southeast's "Best Bang for the Buck" colleges.