Sal Malone, 5, takes a tree to plant with Fletcher Hand, 4, in Steamboat Springs at the ReTree Steamboat event on Howelsen Hill.

Sal Malone, 5, takes a tree to plant with Fletcher Hand, 4, in Steamboat Springs at the ReTree Steamboat event on Howelsen Hill. Photo by Joel Reichenberger. |

Steamboat groups celebrate Earth Day

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— The first Earth Day was observed April 22, 1970, and 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks and auditoriums in celebration of the planet.

Today, the 46th Earth Day will be celebrated in 182 countries, according to Earth Day Network.

In Steamboat Springs however, “Every Day is Earth Day.”

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Andy Kennedy/Courtesy

ReTree Steamboat, an annual tree-planting event hosted by the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, welcomed 225 volunteers from across the state to plant 1,000 trees between Bashor and Vogue at the Steamboat Ski Area on Sunday.

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Victor Washburn pats down the mulch around a newly planted tree along the Yampa River Core Trail on Sunday in Steamboat Springs. He was one of nearly 100 volunteers to help out with the ReTree Steamboat planting event, in which people helped plant about 600 trees along the Core Trail. The event will take place again in May.

Every Day is Earth Day 2016 events

April 22: YVSC Reusable Shopping Bag Giveaway

City Market and Safeway, noon to 1 p.m.

April 25: Community Agriculture Alliance Water Forum

5:30 p.m. at Centennial Hall

April 26: YVSC Talking Green: How Green is Your Sweater?

5:30 to 7 p.m. at Aurum Food and Wine,

April 29: National Arbor Day

April 30: YVSC Residential Electronics and CFL Recycling Collection

9 a.m. to noon at Alpine Bank

April 30: April Stools Day

noon at Pet Kare Clinic

May 1 through 31: National Historic Preservation Month

May 2 through 6: YVSC Second annual School Waste-Free Lunch Challenge

May 5: YVSC Recycling Guidelines published in Spanish

May 6: First Friday Open House - Sequoyah Club Nonprofits

5 to 8 p.m. at Sequoyah Club Building (141 Ninth St.)

May 9 through 13: Routt County Cattlewomen Ranch Days

May 11: YVSC Zero Hero Volunteer Training

5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at YVSC office (141 Ninth St.)

May 11: The Messenger Documentary Film

6:30 p.m. at Bud Werner Memorial Library, Library Hall

May 13: YVSC Food Recovery Kick-Off: Information session

2 to 3:30 p.m. at Colorado Mountain College

May 13: ReTree Steamboat Planting

North Routt Community Charter School

May 14: National Give Your Stuff Away Day

May 14: International Migratory Bird Day Celebration

Location and details TBA

May 14: MainStreet Steamboat’s Down and Dirty Parking Lot Sale

10  a.m. to 2 p.m. at Eighth Street parking lot

May 16 and May 19: Master Gardeners Gardening 101

6:30 p.m. at Bud Werner Memorial Library

May 18: ReTree Steamboat Planting

Steamboat Springs High School

May 18: United Way Day of Caring

8 a.m. at Olympian Hall

May 19: Global Youth Service Day

May 21: Routt County Clean-Up Day

8 a.m. at Olympian Hall

May 21: Steamboat Springs High School Maker Faire

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Steamboat Springs High School

May 24: Alpine Bank Community Shred Day

Noon to 3 p.m. at Alpine Bank

May 24: YVSC Talking Green: Tiny Houses

5:30 to 7 p.m. at Steamboat Springs High School

From a reusable shopping bag giveaway to a used clothing fashion show, an electronic recycling collection and a water forum, the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, with local businesses and organizations, has helped organize a variety of Earth Day events that follow this year’s theme, “Every Day is Earth Day.”

“There’s only one day designated to Earth Day, but in reality, we should be thinking about the way we are impacting the Earth every day,” said Cameron Hawkins, YVSC administrative assistant. “This year, that’s what we are really trying to promote. It’s great to have one day to celebrate, but it should go beyond that one day, and we should translate these practices into every day life.”

The festivities will get underway from noon to 1 p.m. today with the Reusable Shopping Bag Giveaway at City Market and Safeway.

To emphasize the importance of the Yampa River and its impact on the surrounding valley, the Community Agriculture Alliance will host a Water Forum with Colorado Commissioner of Water, John Stulp, who will lead a discussion on Colorado and Yampa water issues beginning at 5:30 p.m. Monday in Centennial Hall.

“For people in agriculture, every day is Earth Day,” said Marsha Daughenbaugh, executive director at the Community Agriculture Alliance. “We have to use natural resources to take care of the land, animals and our own personal livelihood. I think it’s really good to have a month-long awareness of what environmental conservation is and what it can be for our valley.”

Sustainability within the clothing industry will be highlighted at the “YVSC Talking Green: How Green is Your Sweater?” event from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 26 at Aurum Food and Wine. Anne Duane, Quality Assurance Manager for SmartWool, will lead a discussion about SmarWool’s approach to corporate social responsibly and sustainability practice and will walk attendees through the supply chain from farm to finished goods.

“I think it’s everyone’s responsibility to take care of the environment,” Duane said. “It’s time to start caring for it, because if we want to prolong life on the Earth, we have to be aware of our impacts. I don’t think anyone can say they don’t have to think or be aware of it. Even companies and businesses are being more conscious of their impacts.”

Other events continuing through the month of May include an April Stools Day clean up, YVSC’s Second annual School Waste-Free Lunch Challenge, YVSC Zero Hero Volunteer Training, the Steamboat Springs High School Maker Fair, ReTree Steamboat planting, the annual United Way Day of Caring, Global Youth Service Day and Routt County Clean-Up Day.

“Like any healthy habit — eating well or exercising — it’s easy to slip back into old behaviors,” said Anne Mudgett, YVSC program and development director. “It’s good to have a reminder about living every day as sustainably as we can — no judgment, just a gentle reminder to do the best we can for this one planet we have. Maybe that’s walking or riding your bike instead of driving, replacing your incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs or remembering your cloth shopping bags when you go to the store. All those little actions add up and make a big impact.”

This year, YVSC will launch a new community-wide food recovery initiative. The initiative, said Mudgett, will include collecting uneaten food from restaurants and distributing it to food insecure residents to reduce food waste.

Locally, Mudgett said, there has been more awareness of climate change and the need to reduce impacts on the climate in recent years. Sustainability practices that have changed locally include a greater awareness of energy efficiency with an increase in renewable energy; more fuel-efficient cars and an electric vehicle charging station; more people growing their own food and eating local foods; and Zero Waste efforts underway at local schools.

“Perhaps because of the Yampa Valley’s long agricultural tradition, people in Steamboat have always been in tune with the environment and how they fit into the local ecosystem,” Mudgett said. “It’s inspiring to see so many people striving for sustainability and community resilience.”

 To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@ExploreSteamboat.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1

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