Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Earth Day has evolved into Earth Month in Tri-Cities

By Ginger Wireman, education & community outreach specialist, Nuclear Waste Program

Earth Day as celebrated in the Mid-Columbia communities of Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, and West Richland started out as a festival in the park.

Exhibitors showed native plants, taught about habitat and water, demonstrated solar-powered fountains, made art out of recyclables, and more. What was a small event at first grew large enough that organizers became worried that it was creating waste (from food vendors, unused coloring sheets, etc.) more than it was teaching or helping to change behavior.

The GGTC leaf mascot donned a superhero cape
to promote the kids’ contest. 
The plug was pulled on the event in the park. But Mid-Columbia Earth Day grew into Earth Month, and now stretches from Earth Hour on the last Saturday in March, to an electric car race at Columbia Basin College in April 25.

Many of the former exhibitors offer classes and workshops, volunteer projects, and more throughout the month of April. An online calendar lists the myriad opportunities to learn, or do, in appreciation of our one livable planet. We also have an annual kids art contest. This year kids are asked to create a poster answering, “What’s your green Super Power?” showing how they can use their power to go greener.

Ecology’s Nuclear Waste Program has helped organize and catalog these events over the years, which supports the agency Sustainability Plan’s goal to “contribute to the environmental well-being of communities that host Ecology facilities. Get involved in community activities to create a positive presence.”

Ecology staff has also helped with graphics, volunteered at some of the events, and assisted with special event planning, including getting electric cars involved in the annual classic car show “cruise,” an otherwise smelly and noisy affair!

We are proud of the partnerships we’ve built in the community.

No comments: