City going green at Earth Day event - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

City going green at Earth Day event

April 4th, 2019 development
City going green at Earth Day event
Family Fun

By COLLEEN SPARKS, Managing Editor

Children and adults of all ages can grow their knowledge of “green” practices and get their hands on sustainable goodies at the family-friendly Earth Day and Arbor Day Celebration next weekend in Chandler.
The city will host the annual event, where its various departments, along with different companies and organizations, will offer fun activities and freebies, as well as a chance to buy plants, from 9 a.m. to noon on April 13 at Veterans Oasis Park, 4050 E. Chandler Heights Road.
Some activities will be outside in the park while others will be inside the Environmental Education Center on the site, Daniella Rodriguez, recreation coordinator for the City of Chandler’s Environmental Education Center, said.
“We host a variety of vendors that basically promote the environment in different ways,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a big family event for sure. As far as environmental-related, it’s our biggest event that we hold. We do our best to include everyone and have enough activities and variety for people of all ages.”
One “big promoter” of the environment is SRP, which will come to teach people about water and energy conservation, she said.
The Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus Pine Council, Inc. will also set up a booth at the event to promote environmentally-friendly practices.
The Weeders Garden Club, organized and federated in 1955, will sell plants its members have grown themselves at the Earth Day and Arbor Day gathering. That club meets monthly to learn from speakers about all aspects of gardening and takes field trips in the Valley.
Savers, a global thrift retailer with stores providing gently used clothes, accessories and household items, will also participate in the celebration.
Representatives from the store on North Arizona Avenue in Chandler will talk to visitors about Savers’ recycling program.
The Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management is also going to have a booth at the Earth Day and Arbor Day festivities for the first time.
To share how feathered friends make up an important part of the environment, Desert Rivers Audubon Society will also participate in the Chandler event.
That is an area birding group that offers bird walks, as well as classes at the Environmental Education Center.
Other types of animals will be represented at the environmental festival. The Arizona Herpetological Association will bring reptiles for people to check out.
“Their organization basically serves to promote reptiles and the importance of them to the ecosystem and teach people how to appreciate them better,” Rodriguez said.
Education Empowers Inc., a local nonprofit organization where volunteers promote sustainability, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and robotics education, will take part in the Earth Day and Arbor Day bash.
“I like that I get to collaborate with a lot of organizations that are local and they really are making a difference in the environmental footprint,” Rodriguez said. “It’s just all kind of one common goal that we strive for, to promote the environment. It’s a lot of fun. As far as Arbor Day, we talk about the importance of trees and how they help with mitigating climate change.”
Various city departments will also do their part to spread environmental awareness in an entertaining way.
The Water Conservation and Solid Waste Services departments and Stormwater Management Program, as well as its Sunset Library, will share information and offer giveaways at the event.
City employees have given visitors tote bags, sponges with reminders about water conservation and other items at previous gatherings.
“They all team up,” Rodriguez said. “A big part of their mission is to really promote their outreach and all the ways that would benefit the environment but also residents of Chandler.”
Children and anyone young at heart can participate in several craft and other activity stations at the event.
One includes decorating blank canvas tote bags people can take home and learning about UV rays, then taking home bracelets with beads that change colors in the sun.
Stand-up pictures with a cactus and owl with holes cut in them so people can pose for photos with their heads behind them will also be set up.
The usual features of the park and Environmental Education Center will also be available for people to check out. The center will be open and people can view many rocks and minerals on display including petrified wood, copper and malachite.
There also will be fishing in the lake at Veterans Oasis Park.
“Most likely people will be fishing that morning,” Rodriguez said. “We have a lot of regulars that come and fish and enjoy the park.”
The Earth Day and Arbor Day Celebration typically draws about 400 to 600 people every year, she said.
Earth Day is an international event celebrated April 22, which started in 1970 when millions of people hit the streets to protest the negative effects of industrial development over 150 years.
National Arbor Day is April 26 and the roots of the day go back to the 1850s, when J. Sterling Morton and his wife, Caroline Joy French, moved from Michigan to the newly formed Nebraska Territory, a land without trees, according to the Morton Arboretum website.
Morton strived to encourage tree planting and to improve the environment, as well as make the landscape more beautiful. He did his work through literary, agricultural and political positions and activities, first as editor of “Nebraska City News.”
On April 10, 1872, Morton’s idea to reserve a day for planting and bringing attention to trees became the first Arbor Day; when Nebraska residents reportedly planted one million trees.
In 1885, Nebraska declared Morton’s birthday, April 22, as Arbor Day.