The Martha’s Vineyard Museum was alive with activity Saturday afternoon as it hosted its first Earth Day Conservation Festival, a four-hour celebration of the Island’s natural environment.

Welcoming the crowd shortly after noon, museum director Heather Seger thanked wildlife biologist Luanne Johnson, of Island nonprofit BiodiversityWorks, for dreaming up the idea of a conservation festival as the two ate lunch in the museum café one day.

“She said, ‘You know, there’s been no place we could bring all the [groups] together who care about the Earth and the environment, to share what we’re each doing and show people how we work in such different ways and together really support the future of this Island,’” Ms. Seger recalled.

Hands on playtime. — Lisa Vanderhoop

“This is exactly what the museum should be doing,” Ms. Seger told the Gazette later Saturday.

Ms. Johnson smiled as she surveyed the museum courtyard, where young children toddled by their parents’ sides or brandished brand-new counter-top compost buckets filled with stickers, Island-shaped temporary tattoos and other swag from the 18 environmental nonprofits taking part in the festival.

“It’s so great to have everybody together. There’s no place I’d rather be,” Ms. Johnson said.

Saturday’s festival began with a land acknowledgment by Wampanoag tribal member Adriana Ignacio, who reminded all present that indigenous people are the original owners of the Vineyard and Cape Cod.

Signe Benjamin and Sam Look, of Vineyard Conservation Society. — Lisa Vanderhoop

“We have been here for 10,000 years,” Ms. Ignacio said. “This culture is due great respect.”

The Black Brook Singers — Durwood Vanderhoop, Christopher Belain and James Moreis — then performed a drumming song, before taking rattles in hand to lead a set of Wampanoag social dances on the courtyard lawn.

The hop-stepping Robin Dance drew only a handful of participants, but by the end of the next dance — a tribute to all living things that don’t have locomotion, such as plants, Mr. Moreis said — the singers drew dozens of people, including Ms. Johnson, into an increasingly fast-stomping line that wove around the courtyard before spiraling into a rattling, breathless, exhilarated finale in the center.

That was just the beginning of Saturday’s conservation festival, which Ms. Seger said will become an annual museum event.

Black Brook Singers performed. — Lisa Vanderhoop

An expo as well as a celebration, the afternoon included hands-on activities such as making paper plant pots — strips of Gazette pages shaped around a jelly jar — at the Trustees of Reservations’ FARM Institute table, and testing water quality at the Lagoon Pond Association’s.

Small children gazed with fascination into the Martha’s Vineyard Garden Club’s compost bin and excitedly accepted free bags of worm castings from club members.

A young box turtle from Mass Audubon Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary drew a circle of young admirers who gently handled the dome-shelled reptile, marveling at its retractible head and limbs.

The Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group table displayed live scallops no larger than a baby’s fingernail, with a jar of sand grains nearby to represent the bivalves’ size at spawning.

Dancing for the plants. — Lisa Vanderhoop

A series of talks, films and slide shows inside the museum offered opportunities to learn more about the Island’s conservation groups and their work.

Among the presentations, biologist Emily Reddington of the Great Pond Foundation discussed the health of the Island’s coastal ponds and Ms. Johnson introduced the new Martha’s Vineyard Atlas of Life, an interactive online catalog of Island biology where anyone can submit a photo or description for identification — and perhaps reveal a new species, she said.

“You don’t have to have the best camera or good pictures to be a naturalist,” Ms. Johnson said, encouraging her listeners to become citizen scientists.

The festival also included a community sing with Roberta Kirn and the Vineyard Conservation Society’s Trash Awards, recognizing some of the more noteworthy finds from the organization’s Island-wide Earth Day cleanup Saturday morning.

Cleaning up the beaches for Earth Day. — Jeanna Shepard

“This was our 31st annual beach cleanup,” said VCS membership director Signe Benjamin, who presented the awards before an eager crowd.

Winning entries included a tattered Pokemon card, found at the Steamship Authority terminal in Oak Bluffs and deemed Most Collectible; a child’s booster seat abandoned at Lucy Vincent Beach (Most Reusable) and an oddly curved length of what might be cement-covered rebar (Most Curious) found at Eastville.

The Most Surprising award winner was a tattered plastic shopping bag, apparently from a grocer far off-Island, that had been pulled from a tree before volunteers discovered it held a bird’s nest with a clutch of eggs.

“They left the nest very carefully,” Ms. Benjamin said.

Trash award winners received swag bags donated by Island Spirit Kayak, Felix Neck and VCS.

While the museum’s festival won’t repeat until next Earth Day, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission continues the theme of environmental activism with a ClimateAction Fair on May 7, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury.

More pictures.