Earth Fest inspires, unites community

By Sarah Nigbor

RIVER FALLS – Although the weather was cloudy, windy and chilly, that didn’t stop attendees from turning out in full force for the inaugural Earth Fest, held in Glen Park on Sunday, April 24.

The community-wide event featured a sustainability fair, live music, local food samples, and fun family activities all to celebrate Earth Day. The festival showcased local groups and organizations in a one-of-a-kind sustainability fair with activities and educational booths. The free event was meant to honor past, current and future sustainability euorts in River Falls and inspire ongoing climate action.

“Earth Fest 2022 was inspired by the need to celebrate as a community environmental sustainability success of the past and present, as well as to encourage all of us in the River Falls area and Pierce County to renew and extend euorts to care for our beautiful part of the earth,” said festival coordinator Thomas Westerhaus. “We believe, an indigenous people do, that we have the responsibility to project out at least seven generations in protecting and caring for this community so that our children’s children’s children will live and prosper in the River Falls community in even better ways than we do today.”

Representatives from UW-River Falls, City of River Falls, Chippewa Valley Technical College and River Falls School District

See EARTH FEST, Page 11

(From left) UW-River Falls Chancellor Maria Gallo, Chippewa Valley Technical College President Sunem Beaton-Garcia, RFSD Supt. Jamie Benson and Mayor Dan Toland unite to sign a sustainability commitment at the inaugural Earth Fest event on Sunday in Glen Park.

Photo by Sarah Nigbor Earth Fest

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publicly signed a detailed pledge commitment at Earth Fest. Hope for Creation, one of the main coordinators of the event, hosted an exhibit where people could sign their own pledge.

“What it means to sign it is that you will individually and collectively push yourself to try new or additional euorts to care for creation," Westerhaus said. "Composting, recycling, transportation alternatives, eating options, tree planting, local food sourcing, etc.

Earth Fest was a collaboration between Hope for Creation – River Falls, the City of River Falls, UW-River Falls, River Falls School District Community Education, Kinni Corridor Collaborative, Carpenter Nature Center, River Falls Public Library, River Falls Rotary and River Falls Chamber of Commerce.

The River Falls Community Foundation, First Congregational Church of River Falls, River Falls Rotary, St. Bridget Catholic Church and multiple local businesses provided much appreciated financial support.

Hope for Creation, founded in 2014, welcomes anyone to participate and doesn’t require a faith com- munity/congregation avli ation.

Visit hope4creationrf. org for more information on sustainability euorts.

April 26, 2022