Earth Day Fair set for 20th year in Evergreen

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By The Staff

Back on April 22, 1970, the first national Earth Day celebration came into being. It was the brainchild of U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin and was supported by many others.

In 1990, there was a resurgence of environmental interest across the country, and Earth Day saw itself revitalized. One of those sparks ignited here in Evergreen, and a small group formed to create our first mountain area celebration. The initial event was held in the old brick school building where the new library now stands. In 1994, the fair moved to the Lake House, a truly fitting location.

Amazingly, here we are getting ready for the 20th-year event! This year is also the 40th anniversary of the Evergreen Park and Recreation District, our primary co-sponsor. The other sponsors of the fair are The Evergreen Naturalists Audubon Society, the Mount Evans Group of the Sierra Club and Evergreen Newspapers.

From the beginning, the purpose was simple: connect mountain residents with information and ideas that promote a healthy, sustainable environment for all. It's about our life support systems. The fair itself doesn't seek to make a profit, just cover expenses and provide some seed money for the next year's event.

Of course, the groups attending have the opportunity to raise funds, attract new members and otherwise seek your support. There is no admission charge to the public, and exhibitors pay a nominal amount to participate.

Among the exhibitors, you'll be seeing old friends and new faces. There's a full house, with more than 50 exhibitors booked inside and out. You can connect with organizations, government agencies and businesses with interesting products and services. Smokey Bear will be greeting everyone at the door, and you might run across Mother Nature as well.

TENAS’ Nature Center at the lake will be open for its second season in the old warming hut. More than 13,000 people visited the center in its first year of operation.

HawkQuest will provide an up-close encounter with an eagle, hawk and owl. Representatives can answer all your questions on what an important role raptors play in our environment. HawkQuest’s appearance this year is sponsored by Montessori School of Evergreen, Mountain Area Democrats, and Earth Day and Beyond.

Three high school groups will contribute their energies this year. Peace Jam and Environmental Science Students from Evergreen High and Environmentally Aware Students from Conifer HIgh will staff exhibits and activities they created.

Montessori School of Evergreen will host the kids activity table again. This area is dedicated to the memory of Martha Mott, who supervised the grocery bag decorating frenzy for several years. Mott gave much to our community, and her energy was largely responsible for keeping the successful recycling center we enjoy today.

For the first time, we will have a featured local green business. This will be Spaulding Tree, which has equipment for moving large trees and has relocated the Community Tree from Buchanan Park and the Earth Day Tree from Heart Cameron's home prior to construction. These are now part of the landscape at the lake. Spaulding also has a program to move unwanted healthy trees from your property and generate donations to nonprofits from their sale.

There's always something new to learn, and you’re sure to find someone to answer your questions on all kinds of topics. Find out about renewable energy, wildlife, forests and pine bark beetles. Erik Listou with Build Responsible can talk about "green" building and remodeling, and Evergreen Trout Unlimited can teach you to tie flies. Learn about gardening and recycling, invasive weeds and responsible pet ownership. The SOLVE organization will operate the snack bar again, with a variety of tasty items for sale to keep up your strength.

Come out and join the fun on April 18 at Evergreen Lake. There will be shuttle parking at Wulf Recreation Center on Olive Road. The bus will run to the lake starting about 10 a.m. It's also a great day to car-pool or use the Call and Ride. For information, call 303-674-1118.