Puppet parade celebrates Earth Day


People with costumes and puppets march down North Glenview Drive in 2015 during the second All Species Puppet Parade in Carbondale. The focus is to raise awareness of the necessary coexistence of species. Lisa Barnes, a Beloved Puppetista and a local artist, said one goals of the All Species Puppet Parade is to show kids the relevance of having a sustainable earth. 

By Evan Jones, @EvanJones_DE

Hundreds of children and volunteers gathered at the Carbondale Life Community Center to start the second annual Earth Day “all-species puppet parade.”

They marched down Sunset Drive to the rhythmic pounding of drums, banjos and guitars, toward Turley Park. Parade-goers were greeted by Candy Davis and After Barb Wire, music groups that performed in the pavilion during the event.

The parade was co-organized by the Carbondale Park District and the “beloved puppetistas” with support from Carbondale Community Arts and the Illinois Arts Council.


The puppetistas are SIU students and faculty, as well as community members, that help organize and create the puppets the children carried during the parade. There were about 150 participants, said Cade Bursell, who helped organized the event.

Working with Attucks Community Services, an after school program located on the northeast side of Carbondale, the puppets represented different animals found across the world.

“There are workshops that led up to the parade. Some were open to the community, others worked with youth organizations after school,” said Bursell, a professor of cinema and photography. “It combines environmental education with art making.”

An impersonator of John Muir, who is known as the father of America’s national parks, spoke to the children about his life’s work.

“One of the goals was to engage children about the local animals,” said Lisa Barnes, a puppetista. “All of the puppets I made were made out of recycled materials. I spent less than $10 on each of my puppets.”

Other partners for the event included Dayemi Community Center, Carbondale Public Library, Imagining Geographies, the Civic Soul Registered Student Organization and the Fish and Wildlife Service at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge.

Evan Jones can be reached at [email protected].