April 17, 2019 — The Siuslaw region is celebrating Earth Day in a big way this year, as multiple local and state organizations will be holding celebrations, work parties and films in honor of the world’s largest environmental event.
The main event will be held on Saturday, April 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. as the Siuslaw Climate Alliance hosts “Earth Day on the Boardwalk,” which will feature dozens of booths and activities in an all ages event.
“There’s just so much going on,” said climate alliance co-chair Maureen Miltenberger. “People are just so enthusiastic and are wanting to share the knowledge they have on how we can help our own little part of the world.”
The event, which will be held on the Port of Siuslaw Boardwalk in Historic Old Town Florence, will be larger than the inaugural event last year, with more than 20 organizations participating. The theme for the year is “Protect our Species.”
One booth at the event will be the Central Coast Beekeepers Alliance, which will have information on how to take care of bees, details regarding pesticides and viruses that have contributed to the decreased bee population in North America and helpful tips on what can be done to help.
In addition, the Oregon Dunes Restoration Collaborative will discuss the various animals in the region that are being negatively impacted by invasive plant species, as well as the work the group has done to restore the dunes to their natural environment. ODRC will also have the book “Restoring Oregon’s Dunes: The Bid to Save a National Treasure” available for a $10 donation.
People can also hear Mike Allen of the Friends of Harbor Vista Park, who will be talking about whale populations and the threats that they have been facing, as well as what types of species can be seen right off the coast of Florence.
On the recycling end of Earth Day, Precious Plastics Florence will be speaking on its efforts to take discarded plastics, shred them and transform them into new uses. Master Recyclers will be discussing composting and demonstrating how to make worm bins. Further, the group will discuss a new program designed to bring recycling bins to local events.
City of Florence’s Environmental Management and Advisory Committee (EMAC) will also be on hand to discuss the importance of recycling, as well as its new tree initiative. EMAC representatives will hand out information in preparation for Arbor Day, which is observed on April 26. The Surfrider Foundation will have its own booth where it will actually give out free trees to those who are interested, and the Florence Farmers Market will host a plant and vegetable sale.
Preserving nature is the focus of the Florence Salmon and Trout Enhancement Program, which will have information on protecting salmon, while the Siuslaw Watershed Council will be demonstrating its efforts to revitalize the Coho salmon population in the region and its work in restoring local river habitats.
Both keeping the environment clean and helping the bee population are the focus of the Florence Garden Club and its “Roundup” roundup, where the public can dispose of any unused, slightly used or unwanted original containers of weed killer, which the club will dispose of properly.
Personal health and the environment will be the focus of Oregon Food Share, which will be giving out recipes for natural, non-pesticide foods. Healthcare for All Oregon will discuss the effects of climate change on personal health and how environmental threats affect the body.
Florence ORganizes (FOR) will be discussing the Jordan Cove project, a liquefied natural gas pipeline that is attempting to have a terminal in Coos Bay. FOR will discuss how the project could have long-term impacts on wildlife and waterways in the region, and the Siuslaw Climate Alliance will have information on ocean acidification.
Along with the booths, art and children will be a focus for the Earth Day celebration, as there will be free face painting and the opportunity to take a picture with Mother Nature. Kids can also become “beach detectives,” where they will be given the opportunity to find shells and other prizes in sandboxes.
Habitat for Humanity will be showing off the winners of its annual upcycle art contest, where contestants create works of art using recycled materials.
The celebration includes hula and Bollywood dancers along with various other activities and art projects.
“This is no little thing, and it’s going to be cool,” Miltenberger said. “The participation and enthusiasm has been absolutely incredible.”
For those who want to avoid the crowds and get into nature, Oregon Dunes Restoration Collaborative will be having a work party at the John Dellenback trail from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 20. The work party, which is being done with cooperation with the Siuslaw National Forest and the University of Oregon’s Resource Assistance for Rural Economies (RARE) program, will have volunteers take out invasive plant species, such as Scotch Broom, to preserve native species, such as Red Fescue.
“They’ll be able to help the native grasses will stay and not get taken over,” said collaborative representative Bill Blackwell. “The area has some of the highest dunes in the region, 50 to 100 feet, maybe more. It’s worth going to down to see.”
Blackwell suggests arriving at the trail 15 minutes early, and to bring long pants, sturdy shoes, a hat, snacks and tools such as tree saws, loppers or shovels. While the work party officially ends at 1 p.m., participants can leave early to attend the Earth Day on the Boardwalk event if they wish.
For those who cannot make the party on the 20th, a second work party will be held on Saturday, April 27, from 9 a.m. to noon at Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park.
“There’s a real nice dune that goes into Cleawox Lake at the Dunes Day Use area,” Blackwell said. “What we’re trying to do is remove the scotch broom so that we’ll have more open sand.”
For more information on the work parties, visit saveoregondunes.org.
Finally, on Earth Day proper — Monday, April 22 — the Siuslaw Climate Alliance and the Florence Earth Day Committee will be presenting the film “Before the Flood” at City Lights Cinemas, 1930 Highway 101. The documentary film follows actor Leonardo DiCaprio as he travels across the globe, examining the effects of climate change and ways to mitigate its effects.
Tickets are free to all, with showtimes at 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The event is also sponsored by sponsored by City Lights Cinema, Siuslaw News and County Transfer & Recycling.