by Pia K. Hansen
In recent years, it seemed that the annual celebration of Earth Day had disappeared completely from the public radar. Well, that's not the case any more -- this weekend, the Inland Northwest is celebrating the earth as it's rarely been celebrated before.
"Earth Day in Spokane, over the years, developed sort of a corporate sponsorship image with big lumber companies being some of the main sponsors," says Derrick Knowles, who's on the Earth Day planning committee and also works for the Kettle Range Conservation Group. "That maybe wasn't so good, but over the last two years, the activists have really taken Earth Day back. This year, in the Lilac Bowl, we are going to have more than 40 exhibitors, all with an environmental theme."
The big Earth Day Fair takes place in Riverfront Park this Saturday, April 20, from 10 am to 4 pm. The Procession of the Species begins at 1 pm at the Butterfly located at the North Howard and Mallon entrance to the park. If you don't have a giant papier-mache salmon lying around the house to wear in the procession, you can make one at the fair earlier that morning. Call: 477-2208.
There's also a spring cleanup scheduled for the Hamblen Conservation area (on the north bank of the Spokane River, west of downtown, across from Browne's Addition in the West Central Neighborhood) from 9 am-noon, on Saturday, April 20. Call: 466-6683.
Pathways to progress -- a partnership between EWU, the city of Cheney and downtown businesses -- hosts its own Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 20, from 9 am-noon.
"There are two primary themes to this celebration," says Pat Malone, with Pathways to Progress. "One is tree planting around the trail head out by Fish Lake and the other is a downtown cleanup."
People gather at the Cheney City Park on Fourth and D streets, where there will be kids' games and events, and displays put up by different local environmental groups.
To participate in the cleanup, please bring gloves and a broom. Call: 559-5818.
The Earth Day celebration in Coeur d'Alene spans several days. On Saturday, April 20, there will be an informational fair at the Silver Lake Mall, featuring, among many other displays and interactive exhibits, a diesel/electric hybrid truck constructed by University of Idaho students and faculty. Call: (208) 667-9513.
Then, on Monday, April 22 -- which is the actual Earth Day -- there will be a "Lower on the Food Chain" luncheon at Emery's Restaurant on the second floor of the Hedlund Building at North Idaho College, beginning at noon. Keynote speaker is Charles Matheson, a Coeur d'Alene Tribal Council member and chairman of the tribe's Lake Board. Tickets for the lunch: $10; $7 for students. You must make reservations. Call: (208) 666-8172.
Following the luncheon, the public is invited to help plant trees on NIC's campus at a ceremony beginning at 1:15 pm between the Molstead Library and the Officers Quarters. Disease-resistant white pine seedlings will also be given away. There's also a drawing for a six-foot Mountain Glow Maple, and $10 T-shirts will be available at this event. Call: (208) 765-4083.
And there's still time to catch a few events north of Spokane, in Chewelah, as part of what is an Earth Week celebration. Thursday, April 18, at 12:30 pm on the lawn in front of City Hall, conceptual artist Daniel Dancer will organize the formation of a giant salmon, using people as his 'paint.' Wear black, yellow or white -- the final project will be photographed from the air. Call: (509) 935-4938.
On Friday, April 19, at 6:30 pm, meet Dancer at a reception at Flowery Trail Coffeehouse, 211 E. Main Street.
Finally, on Monday April 22, at the Greenwood Institute d'ART, children are invited to come in and create art from recycled and environmentally friendly materials for the Global Art Project.
More than 50 countries across the globe participate in this project, and the art made in Chewelah this day will be sent for display at a school in Australia. Call: (509) 935-4938.