BY SARAH NIGBOR
Earth Day every day
Last Friday was Earth Day, and my daughter came home excited about all the Earth Day-related activities she did in school. She signed a pledge to be a good steward of the earth, and as we drove home, she rattled ou all of the things that we could do to help take care of our planet. Her enthusiasm was contagious, and before I knew it we were making all sorts of plans to expand our recycling routine, use more reusable bags when shopping, and reuse things instead of throwing them away.
I remember being just as enthusiastic about saving the planet when I was her age. Picking up trash along Saddle Club Road wasn’t enough for my friend Derek and me. We took ou down the road with my Red Flyer wagon in tow, going from house-to-house to see if we could collect people’s recycling and take care of it for them. I think my grandpa was less than impressed when we came home with wagon-after-wagon of recyclables, because it meant more to take to the dump for him. I wonder what people thought when we knocked on their doors asking for their garbage? Oh, to be young and innocent again.
Each year, our 4-H club performs roadside clean-up along Highway 63 through Martell. An award is given each year to the person who finds the weirdest item(s) in the ditch. Since we’ve been with the club, some odd things have surfaced: A Kielbasa sausage in its package, an unopened bottle of parmesan cheese, a train horn, an airplane mask, basically enough car parts to build a new car, nests of snakes. Last year Carolina found two small tennis shoes and one sock, and crafted an entire story about a mean brother who was naughty and threw his sister’s shoes out the window. I just want to know what would prompt someone to throw a Kielbasa out the window.
Since moving to our current house, my kids and I have begun the annual tradition of picking up trash along our country road. Someone who drives our route must really like McDonald’s and Busch Light beer. In a mile-stretch, we usually bring home multiple big garbage bags of trash and recycling. We haven’t found anything out-of-the-ordinary yet, but then again, we’re not on a major highway. Who knows what we'll find this year? I do find it disgusting that so many peo ple are so lazy that they throw their garbage out the window.
This past Sunday, I attended the inaugural Earth Fest at Glen Park in River Falls. Despite the strong winds and chilly air, the number of people there was inspiring. The park was packed with people sampling sustainable local foods (the "Beyond Meat" burgers were amazing!), learning about beekeeping, play ing games, signing a sustainability pledge, hearing about forestry projects in the city, listening to live music, receiving trees to plant, and much more. The atmosphere was electric and filled with hope that we can all do some thing to make our planet a better place. Even small things add up.
I feel fortunate that I grew up in River Falls, a community that is focused on green energy, sustainability and protecting the environment. A community that builds partnerships and pledges to do all it can to protect our earth and its resources. Watching ovcials from UW-River Falls, Chippewa Valley Technical College, the City of River Falls and River Falls School District sign a sustainability resolution was inspiring. If we can all work together, I know we can make a big impact.
And stay tuned for this year’s weirdest trash award winner from our Adopt-a-High- way trek. I wish we would find nothing in the ditches, but I doubt that will be the case. Any guesses on the strangest item found?