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Sam E. Soil, representing the Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation Commission, made the rounds of the DeSoto County Courthouse Square Saturday morning, as part of the county’s Earth Day activities. He made the rounds with help from the Olive Branch High School Junior ROTC. 

Things got a little “earthy” around the DeSoto County Courthouse Square Saturday morning. Along with the start of the season for the Hernando Farmers Market, DeSoto County government officials hosted about 50 different exhibits and vendors around the square for its yearly Earth Day celebration.

It was the ninth annual activity to promote and support a green, healthy environment, and is an event that has grown each year, said county Environmental Services Manager Ray Laughter.

“It was started back in 2010 and was brought on by our county administrator Vanessa Lynchard,” Laughter said. “It went from a small event with about 10 vendors and we have about 50 vendors now. I think people enjoy coming out to see what all the county has to offer.”

The free event featured a paper shredding availability, and a mascot for the Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation Commission by the name of Sam E. Soil, made the rounds to teach about the importance of the soil and conservation. The mascot is billed as a “walking, talking soil sample.”  

“We want to be good servants to the Earth and take care of our environment and we want to promote a healthy environment for our citizens,” said Supervisor and Board President Lee Caldwell.  

There was more to the day, which went on Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., as exhibits ranged from the county Emergency Services Department to the Army Corps of Engineers. Laughter’s department had a spot on the square and the Horn Lake Lions Club promoted another form of recycling in donating used eyeglasses to be reused.  

Laughter said DeSoto County actively works to be a clean, inviting place to visit and live.  

“We like to think this is the crown jewel of Mississippi,” said Laughter. “We are Mississippi’s Front Porch, its Front Door from the north you might say. We’ve got a beautiful natural landscape and we love to promote all of the different services that we have that just makes our county clean and green.”

Caldwell added a good environment is a sign of an attractive place to live.

“It’s a good quality of life,” she said. “People want to be in an area where people care. If your area is clean and trash is picked up, it shows that people in that community care.”

Bob Bakken is Managing Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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