• All Species Day celebrates life
    May 06,2013
    Stefan Hard / Staff Photo

    Celebrants evoke the wonders of nature during the All Species Day celebration Sunday in Montpelier.

    Nature smiled on Sunday's All Species Day celebration in Montpelier in the form of perfect weather as about 250 turned out for the annual event founded 25 years ago by Plainfield artist Janice Walrafen to honor all living creatures.

    Walrafen first conceived All Species Day while living in New York City, but brought the concept here. Vermont, with its strong environmental ethic and well-preserved natural beauty, seemed a fitting home for an annual spring celebration of nature.

    Walrafen, who lives in Plainfield and has a studio in East Montpelier, was helping direct the opening ceremony Sunday in Hubbard Park, dressed in a brilliant blue dress and headband, and wearing bold face paint, evoking the spirits of wind and water.

    All around the huge circle that was formed in the grassy opening in Hubbard Park were people dressed as various critters, from snakes and wolves, to dragonfies and butterflies, and even mushrooms and seeds.

    Stephanie D'Arcangelo of North Andover, Mass. journeyed to Montpelier for the occasion with her daughter, Mariah Dalmer, 16. Participating in the All Species Day Parade has been a family tradition that has lasted nearly as long as Mariah has been alive, Arcangelo said.

    “She first came with me when se was two or three years old,” said Arcangelo of her daughter. Back then, mom was a student at Goddard College in Plainfield.

    Several Goddard alumni attended Sunday's celebration, which started in Hubbard Park,and continued in parade form to the Statehouse lawn, where a pageant was held.

    Selene Lutschg of Worcester, dressed as a wood nymph, said she has been coming to All Species Day celebrations since 2007 and enjoyed, as she put it, “not leaving our ancestral traditions behind and honoring our pre-Christian roots.”

    Meredith Nuse of Moretown came to Sunday's celebration of all living creatures dressed as a bird, with black wings on her back, and with her partner, Treesah Moretti-Elder, dressed as a beehive with bees buzzing around her head.

    “All Species Day is like a birthday for my family,” said Nuse, who hinted that her family includes all creatures. “It's helpful to me to see all these species represented like this and to see all these people honoring the earth.”

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