Clark Public Utilities invites public to join Earth Day community projects

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After the 2020 Earth Fest celebration was canceled due to the pandemic, Clark Public Utilities and its StreamTeam are excited to bring back Earth-friendly events in a digital fashion this year. 

In 2019, the utility had over 1,000 volunteers from around the county plant trees, pull weeds and more. The event is organized by the Clark Public Utilities StreamTeam, which works in the community to restore streams and promote environmental consciousness. 

According to StreamTeam Program Coordinator Maddy Loy, the motivation to create “Earth Day Fest” early on was to build an event to “welcome the community to enjoy their environment.” 

In a normal year, the utility kicks off Earth Day celebrations on the Saturday following April 22. Volunteer events begin in the morning as people from around the county work together to plant trees, pick up litter and more. As the celebration moves into the afternoon, the StreamTeam has an “Eco Fair” where volunteers eat a catered lunch and more community members come to celebrate. 

“The fair is a lot of fun,” Loy said. “A lot of times we’ll have (the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) out with their traveling science fair.” 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March of 2020, Loy and other StreamTeam members didn’t have enough time to plan a digital event before Earth Day and were forced to cancel. However, this year, Loy said she and the StreamTeam have planned out a digital Earth Day celebration and are inviting the community to join in on “events that bring people out to get involved.” 

According to Loy, the utility will be hosting a series of live streamed events on Saturday, April 24, which will give community members “opportunities to learn” and socialize. Events will include story time focused on the environment, a chef-led cooking class, an upcycled crafts clinic and a birdhouse building workshop. 

“We’re also going to have some self-led activities like tree planting, picking up trash and starting a compost bin,” Loy said, adding that the live events are “going to be a ton of fun.”

While the self-led events are a little less formal, Loy said the utility is encouraging residents who participate to post pictures on social media with the hashtag “#EarthDayFest2021” or email pictures to streamteam@clark

pud.com. 

Loy said the utility will host a raffle for prizes, like books from local bookstores and a new bird feeder. The utility will use submissions as “tickets” for the raffle. 

Loy said planning the event “felt like a moving target” since the utility had been talking about planning the 2021 celebration since the cancellation of last year’s event. Loy said she is most excited for the live-streamed demonstrations, some of which will be led by community members. 

As for why Earth Day is important, Loy said it gives the community a chance to “look into ways to be better environmental stewards and ways to conserve resources,” not just on Earth Day, but everyday. 

“It’s really gimmicky, but Earth Day is everyday,” she said. 

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