TUMBLEWEEDS

Earth Day and Trail Days Combine

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This year’s Gila Earth Day will be celebrated in conjunction with Continental Divide Trail Days from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 23, at Gough Park in Silver City.

More than 30 organizations and businesses will showcase their missions, services or green products for the yard, home and outdoor recreation. This year’s theme, “Invest in Our Planet,” focuses on the need to address the rapid onslaught of climate change.

“The government and businesses must accelerate the response now because the climate crisis is increasingly damaging economies, increasing scarcity, draining profits and impacting us all,”  said event organizer Doyne Wrealli, Program Coordinator for Gila Resources Information Project (GRIP). “But citizens must be the driving force for change. What can we do, individually and as a community, to invest in our planet, both locally and globally? We’ll get some answers from our local experts.”

The collaboration with Continental Divide Trail Days is new this year, but the combination makes good sense, as both organizations are concerned with conservation and community. Trail Days will take place over five days, kicking off on Wednesday, April 20 with an introduction to the Continental Divide Trail and its relationship with the Gateway Community of Silver City at a Lunch & Learn event with the Western Institute for Lifelong Learning at the Western New Mexico University Global Resource Center. On Friday, a speaker series will take place at the Old Post Office building, and there will be a fiesta at MainStreet Plaza on Friday. The gear expo/conservation celebration in partnership with Gila Earth Day will be on Saturday, April 23 and community hikes will be offered on Sunday, April 24.

This year, Gila Earth Day is sponsoring a Found Object Art Contest for area students, Kindergarten through grade 12. The found objects used may be man-made or from nature and works of art can be in any form. Local artists Marti W. Lew and Jean-Robert P. Be’ffort of A Space Gallery are assisting with this endeavor. Prizes will be awarded to the best elementary, middle school, and high school submissions that call attention to a local or global environmental issue, decided by a panel of judges. Submissions will be on display at the park.

Other Gila Earth Day activities include a community trash cleanup with Pick It Up – Toss No Mas and Big Ditch Park planting projects with the Silver City Watershed Keepers.

To join in the Community Trash Cleanup, meet the Pick It Up – Toss No Mas team in the parking lot on the south side of Gough Park at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 23 and pick up trash bags, gloves, trash pickers and snacks. Volunteers will spend the morning cleaning up litter at a location of their choice and then return to Gough Park between noon and 1 p.m. to drop off trash and recyclables and record their cleanup results. The New Mexico Department of Transportation will collect the trash and haul it to the landfill. Recyclables will be collected by Silver City Recycles.

The Silver City Watershed Keepers is also organizing a Volunteer Planting Day as part of its Big Ditch Park Revitalization Project. Rain gardens have been constructed in the park to capture storm water runoff and prevent erosion on steep slopes. Volunteers will assist with establishing plantings using drought tolerant, native species that are beneficial to pollinators and birds and help build a resilient and climate-adapted greenway.

Volunteers will meet at Big Ditch Park at 9 a.m. for bagels and coffee before starting to work in planting areas. Volunteers should wear closed-toe shoes and bring gardening gloves, hat, sunscreen, and water bottle. Gardening tools will be provided.

“We still have plenty of room for vendors, and we’d love to hear from anyone wishing to sponsor the event,” Wrealli said. “Those funds help keep vendor fees low and subsidize advertising, which brings more people to the park. Volunteers will also be needed for the day of the event, and there’s still time to participate in the planning committee.

“This collaboration with the Continental Divide Trail Days is shaping up to be a huge, wonderful event. We’ll have something for everyone.”

 For more information, go to www.gilaresources.info, or contact Wrealli at earthendoyne@gmail.com or call 575-297-9734.