by Cara Gardner If you've never celebrated Earth Day, here's your chance. Earth Day activities are planned all over the Inland Northwest, and most of them are free. Earth Day is a time to acknowledge and respect the natural world, but it's also an opportunity to learn about some of the environmental problems our planet faces, and what we can do to clean up after ourselves, leaving the next generation with a better world.
In Spokane -- Spokane's Riverfront Park is one of the best examples of how a downtown can nurture green environments. Learn more about ways to sustain our resources, conserve water and electricity and recycle products. Activities will be held all day at the Gondola Meadow in Riverfront Park on April 19. The Lands Council will have booths and activities for the whole family. The Northwest Eco Building Guild plans to show a variety of solar-powered and recycled products. The cost is free.
Also on April 19 is the 4th annual Procession of the Species. Celebrants have created a variety of animal costumes, masks, banners and other creations to symbolize the natural world, and they'll be taking them out for a stroll, starting at the big butterfly at the Howard and Mallon entrance to the park at 1 pm. If you want to participate, but have no prop, show up at the Gondola Meadow at 10 am to create your own item. The parade winds through Riverfront Park.
The Children's Museum plans to help children learn about Earth Day through creative projects. Kids can build a sculpture out of recycled materials on April 22. Activities will go from 10 am to noon. Cost: $3.75. For more information, call 624-KIDS or visit www.childrensmuseum.net.
Celebrate Earth Day musically with Missa Gaia, an Earth Mass celebration at St. John's Cathedral. The concert will be held on April 27 at 4 pm. Tickets are $18; $16, seniors; $9, children. Call 325-SEAT.
In Coeur d'Alene -- The Lake City plans to celebrate Earth Day and promote education by hosting a variety of booths, workshops and activities for the whole family. There will be games and crafts for kids. Some of the activities and booths will be held by Wolf Education and Research Center, School Indigo, Kootenai Shoshone Soil and Water Conservation, Forest Service wildlife biologists, Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy, Kootenai Master Gardeners. There will also be a planetarium for anyone interested in a glorious view of the stars. Booths will be up all day on April 19 in the Christianson Gym at North Idaho College. It's free.
Or you can take in Dr. Stephen Summer's discussion of speaks about species diversity in Idaho. The formal talk will be on April 22 at Emery's Restaurant. Cost is $8.
For those who'd like to really get a feel for the earth on Earth Day, join friends for a tree-planting session on April 22 at 1:30 pm, next to the Sherman Administration Building at NIC.
In Sandpoint -- The Public Forum on Sustainability will host a seminar called, Making Sustainability Work: A Homesteading Success Story. Libby and Frank Ruljancich will talk about their 27 years of homesteading on Arrow Lake in B.C. The couple will share their journey, their inventions and the joy of living simply. The forum will be held at Sandpoint Public Library on April 17 at 7 pm.
The Ruljancichs will also hold a seminar sponsored by the University of Idaho on home orchards. They will share their knowledge from planting and growing more than 50 fruit and nut trees. The seminar will be held at the East Bonner Library on Friday, April 18, from 9:30 to 11:30 am.
For more information about Earth Day, check out these Web sites: www.earthday.net or www.earthsite.org