By Gail Everett, Special to the Tri-City Herald
RICHLAND -- You have 30 days. The clock is ticking. What will you do to celebrate Earth Month?
What began in 1970 as a movement to put environmental concerns front and center in Washington, D.C., has evolved to become a monthlong series of activities, events and cleanup projects in the Mid-Columbia. A lot has changed in 42 years, but one thing that has not is the desire to protect the planet we call home, and local Earth Month organizers make it easy.
Log onto www.earthmonthmc.org to find local activities or events or to get the resources you need to sponsor your own learning opportunity.
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The online Community Guide page features local waste reduction information, recycling, conservation measures and about 150 different links or tips to help you grow greener.
The Earth Kids page features children's activities, links and a kids' contest where local youth can earn cash. Hurry and check out www.earthmonthmc.org.kids before the deadline April 9. Winners of the kid's essay and video project will be announced later in the month.
The Volunteer Opportunities page lists available spring volunteer projects or provides contact information if you are looking for a project.
The Resources page lists local environmental organizations and community gardens and the titles of environmental videos and books available at the Mid-Columbia and Richland libraries.
The Calendar of Events, where you can sign up for activity notification reminders, is one site you will want to bookmark. You can find out about cell-phone and tire drives, the household hazardous waste collection event and where to take your documents for shredding and recycling. Activities include environmental story time and craft activities, geocaching events, hikes, walks, movies and more.
National Earth Day is April 22 and this year it falls on a Sunday; a perfect day for family or group outings or projects. One new element this year is one being offered at the White Bluffs Center on Van Giesen Street in Richland. The White Bluffs Center, a quilting, fiber textile, weaving, spinning and basketry guild and museum all rolled up in one, is opening their doors April 22 to teach two classes.
The first is a class on sewing a reusable bag. All instructions, material and use of a sewing machine are included in the $20 fee. This class is open to teens through adult. The second class teaches the importance of "repurposing material" by learning to sew. It begins at 2:30 p.m. and costs $15. For more information, visit www.whitebluffscenter.org or call 967-2833.
Another fun event to attend is the Electrathon Race and Electric Vehicle Expo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 28 in the northwest parking lot of Columbia Basin College in Pasco.
See high school and college age students competing in exciting Grand Pre style racing with electric vehicles of their own design and construction. The expo features electric, hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles.
Whatever you do this April, incorporate at least one environmental activity, event or practice into your life. It can be as easy as changing the way your pay bills.
If you haven't already, sign up for auto payment or electronic bill pay and decline the paper statement.
Say, "No, thanks," to plastic grocery bags and bring your own reusable bags. Watch an environmental movie with friends or family members and dim the lights. Pick up a movie, book or ebook from the library and learn something new. Pick up trash, plant a garden or some wild flowers in a weed patch or clean up an eyesore. Make a change in your purchasing or disposal habits. Say no to printed gas receipts or walk instead of driving the car. It's that easy!
For more information, see www.earthmonthmc.org or like us on Facebook www. facebook.com/midcolumbiaearthmonth.
You can also call 942-7730 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- Gail Everett is the environmental education coordinator for the city of Richland.