David Zinn's whimsical chalk drawings will be featured at the Detroit Zoo's GreenFest.

Greenfest, the annual Earth Day celebration at The Detroit Zoo features chalk art, a sustainability trek, entertainment and crafts.

By Keri Cohen

Featured photo courtesy of David Zinn

Ann Arbor sidewalk chalk artist/illustrator David Zinn is looking forward to bringing his unique artwork to the Detroit Zoological Society’s (DSZ) seventh annual GreenFest from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at the Detroit Zoo. The event is dedicated to celebrating Earth Day (observed April 22) and engaging the community in environmental stewardship.

Zinn is especially happy there’s no rain in the forecast because of the chalk he uses to build his impermanent works of art — many playfully featuring animals in situations that fool the eye into thinking they are three-dimensional.

“Drawing on sidewalks at the Detroit Zoo is uniquely convenient in that I’m literally surrounded by animals waiting to be a source of inspiration,” Zinn says. “My drawings are always improvised on the spot, but they’re also influenced by whatever’s going on around me at the time, so any number of Earth, nature, or ecological themes might pop up at Greenfest.”

Is the Jewish artist concerned that his art is not permanent?

“I prefer temporary art because it can be created without the distractions of permanence, and because the world will never run out of fresh places for me to draw,” Zinn says. “Also, my art’s ephemeral status makes seeing one of my installations even more valuable because that experience is only available to people who are not only in the right place at the right time, but also open to seeing unexpected things beneath their feet.”

Courtesy of Detroit Zoological Society

The first 1,000 visitors to GreenFest will receive a free tomato plant or tree seedling to take home. “This will provide guests an opportunity to complete an actionable step for our environment,” said DZS Manager of Sustainability Rachel Handbury. All guests will receive pollinator garden seeds to plant at home.

Drummunity will bring a collection of hand drums and other percussion instruments guests can learn how to play and “drum for the Earth.” Crafts will include birdseed cakes for children to feed the birds in their own backyards.

A new Detroit Zoo Trek — an interactive mobile map system — will debut at GreenFest, offering a guided sustainability tour highlighting the DZS’s anaerobic digester, permeable pavement visitor pathways, rain gardens, solar energy system and other sustainability initiatives. To launch the trek, visit dzoo.org/greentrek.

All GreenFest activities are free with Detroit Zoo admission. The event is supported by Ford Motor Company, The Home Depot, Renewal by Andersen and Window Pro.

For hours, prices, directions and other information, call (248) 541-5717 or visit detroitzoo.org.

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