More Earth Week ahead: Earth Day Fair and March for Science this weekend

Photo courtesy Al Myatt
Brandon Caley from the Pagosa Ranger District helps his young visitors understand the complexity of forest health at last year’s Earth Fair. This year’s Earth Week Fair is set for Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. at the PLPOA Clubhouse.[/caption]

By Pauline Benetti

Special to The PREVIEW

Earth Week 2018 has been a very busy week with participation from a variety of community organization and local businesses — a Lifelong Learning Lecture at the Library, a Pagosa Earth Community discussion on social and environmental justice, the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership (GGP) Environmental Film Festival, Unitarian Universalist trash pickups, San Juan Outdoor Club hike and the Mountain High Gardeners annual exposition.

But, we are not through yet. Today there will be a Loaves and Fishes lunch at noon at the Parish Hall served by Southwest Organization for Sustainability and later, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Chamber of Commerce conference room, a discussion of the winter issue of Yes Magazine, which is about building an economy that benefits everyone. Finally, there are the big events of Saturday, the Earth Week Fair, and Sunday, the Earth Day March for Science.

Earth Week Fair

Saturday’s Earth Week Fair will take place at the PLPOA Clubhouse on Port Avenue from 1 to 4 p.m. It will include displays by a number of local organizations and businesses, the exhibit of an electric car ,speakers, kid events, music and food.

Among the organizations with valuable information and giveaways for you are the following: Archuleta County Weed and Pest, Audubon Rockies, CSU Extension, Earth Community, GGP, Plastic Coalition, Rock the Vote, San Juan Stargazers, San Juan Water Conservation District, Southwest Colorado Firewise, St. Francis Wildlife Rehabilitation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service, Weminuche Audubon Society and, by Saturday, there may very well be more. You will also be encouraged at the number of businesses involved in the sustainability effort.

The lineup of speakers will present in the PLPOA conference Room and include the following: Jonathon Dobson, “Solarizing a Rural School in Puerto Rico” (1 p.m.); Kirsten Skeehan and Bob Formwalt on their candidacy for the La Plata Electric Association Board of Directors (1:45 p.m.); Justin Ramsey, “Local and Regional Water Issues, a PAWSD View” (2:30 p.m.); and Bill Trimarco, “Protecting your Property from Wildfire” (3:15 p.m.). Everyone will find something that matters to them in this lineup.

Now for the kids. There will be so much to do and see: St. Francis Wildlife Rehabilitation will have Dooley the educational falcon on hand. The two Audubon organizations will host a scavenger hunt and a bird viewing area complete with binoculars and guidebooks to help with identification of birds as well as a plant planting activity. For further edification and enjoyment of the young ones, there will also be a science demo area, as well as a giant bubble demo and play area.

Finally, food and music: Enjoy a barbecue down by the gazebo or, for those who would rather not do meat, enjoy a vegetarian cooking demo by Tess Challis in the clubhouse. The music offering has something for everyone: the Brooks-i Band to accompany your barbecue experience and both Acoustic Picnic and Jack Ellis in the clubhouse as you visit the different exhibits.

So, come on down. Bring the whole family. Learn about your part in making our planet a healthier place. Have some good food and listen to some terrific music.

Earth Day

On Sunday, after more than a week of activities, we arrive at the big day, Earth Day, and the second annual March for Science.

Last year, we had a huge crowd (Pagosa size) march from Pagosa Springs High School to the GGP amphitheater. This year, the march will form at the amphitheater at 12:30 p.m., wend its way through town and return to the amphitheater, where we will conclude with a community potluck. Everyone is encouraged to show up and bring signs, balloons, your cruiser bike (if you have one) and food to share with your neighbors.

Last year, this global grassroots movement brought out more than a million people in more than 450 cities worldwide. Thousands on the National Mall marched past the Environmental Protection Agency and to the U.S. Capitol to advocate for science to play a larger role in society — and stressed how research already ripples through a slew of issues from guns to immigration.

The message to public officials is clear — that evidence-based policy decisions are critical and science should not be ignored. The message in 2018 is the same, just louder.