We have a new monthly guest column from the Hilliard Environmental Sustainability Commission. Read it every fourth week of the month in the ThisWeek Hilliard Northwest News.

Hilliard's 10-member Environmental Sustainability Commission is making final preparations for its fifth annual Earth Day celebration, which will be themed "Love the Earth."

Earth Day will be celebrated April 22 all over the country and is the official national holiday for spotlighting Mother Nature. Like previous years, Hilliard community members will come together and fill the local recreation center and senior center grounds to demonstrate its importance.

Earth Day was proposed as a national holiday by Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin in 1969 after the devastation of a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Sen. Nelson wanted to push nature conservation and sustainability efforts onto the national agenda. The senator's efforts worked, and a year after the first official Earth Day celebrations, the Environmental Protection Agency was created.

At the time of Earth Day's inception, the world population was about 3.5 billion. Now with 7.5 billion people occupying the Earth, conservation and protection of our natural resources is more important than ever.

The ESC has been the driving force behind Hilliard's Earth Day celebration since it started in 2013. This year, the event will be held 10 a.m. to noon April 22 at the community and senior centers in Roger A. Reynolds Municipal Park, 3800 Veterans Memorial Drive.

Local businesses and organizations that maintain a commitment to conservation and sustainability will be on hand. The event will feature food-waste composters, bee-keeping professionals, electric and hybrid car displays, solar-panel information and rain-barrel education. It also will include inflatables, games and hands-on activities for children.

Hilliard City Schools students and Scout troops working on community-service hours and projects will join several central Ohio businesses in volunteering at one of three work sites that morning: Roger A. Reynolds Municipal Park cleanup from 10 to 11 a.m.; Tot Lot mulching from 10 to 11 a.m.; and Little Children's Acorn Garden cleanup from 11 a.m. to noon. The work sites are open to everyone in the community.

The event also will provide Hilliard residents the opportunity to dispose of unwanted items in a way that keeps them out of the landfills.

This year's collections include new and gently used remodeling materials for resale by the Habitat for Humanity ReStores; electronic waste (computers and peripherals) for the Community Computer Alliance, which recycles those items by providing workforce development and job-readiness opportunities to individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities; and furniture and appliances for the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio, which helps individuals and families in need.

Styrofoam recycling and secure paper-shredding services will be available, as well.

For more information or to sign up for volunteer opportunities, visit gogreenhilliard.com.

Abby Wolford is a member of Hilliard's Environmental Sustainability Commission.