This year’s Gila Earth Day will be celebrated in conjunction with Continental Divide Trail Days on Saturday, April 23rd from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at Gough Park in Silver City. More than 30 organizations and businesses will showcase their mission, services, or green products for your yard, home, and outdoor recreation. After a two-year pandemic hiatus, we’ll be returning to an in-person event this year with lots of organizations, vendors, and activities in Gough Park.
This year’s theme, Invest In Our Planet, focuses on the urgent need to address the rapid onslaught of climate change. “The government and businesses must accelerate the response now, because the climate crisis is increasingly damaging economies, increasing scarcity, draining profits, and impacting us all. But citizens must be the driving force for change,” said event organizer Doyne Wrealli, Program Coordinator for Gila Resources Information Project (GRIP). “What can we do, individually and as a community, to Invest In Our Planet, both locally and globally? We’ll get some answers from our local experts.”
The collaboration with Continental Divide Trail Days is new this year, but the combination makes good sense, as both organizations are concerned with conservation and community. Trail Days will take place over five days, kicking off on Wednesday, April 20th with an introduction to the Continental Divide Trail and its relationship with the Gateway Community of Silver City at a Lunch & Learn event with the Western Institute for Lifelong Learning at the WNMU Global Resource Center. On Friday, a speaker series will take place at the Old Post Office building, and there will be a fiesta at MainStreet Plaza on Friday. The gear expo/conservation celebration in partnership with Gila Earth Day will be on Saturday, April 23rd and community hikes will be offered on Sunday, April 24th.
This year, Gila Earth Day is sponsoring a Found Object Art Contest for area students, Kindergarten through grade 12. The found objects used may be man-made or from nature, and works of art can be in any form. Local artists Marti W. Lew and Jean-Robert P. Be’ffort of A Space Gallery are assisting with this endeavor. Prizes will be awarded to the best elementary, middle school, and high school submissions that call attention to a local or global environmental issue, decided by a panel of judges. Submissions will be on display at the park.
Other Gila Earth Day activities include a community-wide trash cleanup and Big Ditch Park planting projects with the Silver City Watershed Keepers.
Join Pick It Up – Toss No Mas in Gough Park in Silver City from 9 am – 1 pm; Santa Clara Action Committee and Heart of the Gila at Viola Stone Park in Santa Clara from 10 am – 1 pm; and Terrazas Funeral Home on Highway 180 from 9 am – noon.
Meet the Pick It Up – Toss No Mas team in the parking lot on the south side of Gough Park in Silver City at 9 am on Saturday, April 23 and pick up trash bags, gloves, trash pickers and snacks. Volunteers will spend the morning cleaning up litter at a location of their choice and then return to Gough Park between 12 pm and 1pm to drop off trash and recyclables and record their cleanup results. The New Mexico Department of Transportation will collect the trash and haul it to the landfill. Recyclables will be collected by Silver City Recycles. Pre-register or register on-site at the event.
Heart of the Gila and the Santa Clara Action Committee are again teaming up to clean up Cameron Creek on Earth Day. Volunteers can come anytime between 10am and 1pm to Viola Stone Park in Santa Clara to be part of the effort.
Representative Luis Terrazas will be hosting volunteers from 9 am – noon at Terrazas Funeral Home to clean up Highway 180 in the Mining District.
Volunteers should wear closed-toe shoes and bring a hat, water bottle, and sunscreen. Children 17 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Because children under 12 are not permitted on state highways for the cleanup, families with younger children are encouraged to clean up litter in their neighborhood, local parks or waterways.
The Silver City Watershed Keepers is also organizing a Volunteer Planting Day as part of its Big Ditch Park Revitalization Project. With funding from New Mexico Clean and Beautiful and The 30Something Grant and in partnership with the Town of Silver City, Silver City MainStreet, Lone Mountain Natives Nursery, Aldo Leopold Charter School Youth Conservation Corps, and Stream Dynamics, rain gardens have been constructed in the park to capture storm water runoff and prevent erosion on steep slopes. Volunteers will assist with establishing plantings using drought tolerant, native species that are beneficial to pollinators and birds and help build a resilient and climate-adapted greenway.
Volunteers will meet at Big Ditch Park Kelly Street entrance at 10:00 am for bagels and coffee before starting to work in planting areas. Volunteers should wear closed-toe shoes and bring gardening gloves, hat, sunscreen, and water bottle. Gardening tools will be provided.
“This collaboration with the Continental Divide Trail Days is shaping up to be a huge, wonderful event. We’ll have something for everyone,” said Wrealli. For more information, go to www.gilaresources.info, or contact Doyne Wrealli at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 575-297-9734.