In a wooded enclave of the Price Hill neighborhood, the Imago Earth Center is an urban oasis. Only a few miles from Cincinnati’s bustling downtown district, this simple building and its surrounding twenty-three acres of woods feel like another world.
Imago is a community run environmental education organization. For the past 30 years, founders Jim and Eileen Schenk have engaged with over 50,000 students from the Cincinnati area through their many educational programs. Imago has several environmental based summer camps every year, and a host of regular events in their Earth Center at 700 Enright Ave. Price Hill.
Imago hosts a few fundraisers in order to provide the many services they offer to their community, with the largest one being Music in the Woods. September 12 was the event’s fourteenth annual occurrence, and was a major hit. Between tickets bought ahead of time and those sold at the door, around 250 people came out to listen to great folk music and have a fun time.
The event had many features in addition to music, including a grand auction. From paintings to an Osprey backpack, there was a variety of items to choose from. Artwork was displayed on the walls of the Earth Center from two artists, Jennifer Wenker, a conceptual eco-artist, and Alicia Hildebrand. The Center also had an interactive art station, with supplies to create your own prayer flag with the prompt “what peace means to you”. As they were created, the flags were hung by string on a tree out front.
Food was provided by Om Cafe, whose main location is in Clifton. The menu included hot dogs with “the works”, or onions and peppers plucked straight from their garden. Beer was provided by local brewery Rhinegeist.
In the lawn, a few games of corn hole were set up and seeked out eagerly by guests in-between music sets. The face painting station was popular with the children, it was run by Miami senior Taylor Pittard. He has been an intern with Imago for the past several months.
But, the main attraction was the music. The lineup was composed of all local bands: The Red Cedars, Wild Carrot and The Roots Band, Harlot and Jake Speed and the Freddies. The stage was small and wooden, lit by soft lanterns and tiki torches. The audience gathered and sat on metal folding chairs in an amphitheater formation.
The event, like Imago itself, was run by volunteers. Maria Weyler, a 2006 Miami graduate in speech pathology, was one of the many volunteers. Living in Northside, Weyler learned about Imago through friends who attended some of their programs at the Center, such as Imago Amigos.
Imago Amigos is “a lot of hands on stuff,” said Weyler. Guests at these workshops learn various environmentally friendly crafts, like upcycling bicycle tires into jewelry. The concept is a “keep one, leave one approach”; attendees can keep one item they make, and leave another for Imago to sell at fundraisers like Music in the Woods. Weyler appreciates the flexibility that she “can pitch ideas on what workshops should be” and incorporate her own ideas.
Stay tuned for Music in the Woods next year for a fun night for a great cause. In the meantime, workshops such as Imago Amigos are frequent and open to anyone. For more information on those workshops or volunteering opportunities, visit their website.