Volunteers work to plant trees along the banks of the Yampa River in Chuck Lewis State Park in October during a ReTree Community Planting Day.

Volunteers work to plant trees along the banks of the Yampa River in Chuck Lewis State Park in October during a ReTree Community Planting Day. |

Yampa Valley Sustainability Council's Earth Month kicks off Tuesday

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— With more than a dozen Earth Month events planned during the next four weeks, the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council is giving local residents plenty of opportunities to pay tribute to the planet.

The organization’s “Every Day is Earth Day” ongoing celebration means residents planning to be out of town on Earth Day Saturday will have other chances to plant trees, clean up the community and give away valuable but unwanted items to neighbors.

Green Drinks and screening of “Rachel Carson”

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Courtesy photo

Ellen, Julian and Audrey McGuinness participated in the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council's Food Waste Challenge.

The Sustainability Council's Earth Month festivities begin Tuesday with Green Drinks from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Dude and Dan’s. The event offers a chance to network with others interested in environmental issues and celebrates the end of the Sustainability Council’s six-week Food Waste Challenge.

About 50 local families tracked their wasted food and took steps to reduce the amount thrown out as part of the challenge.

“Families adopted new strategies to minimize food waste, such as freezing leftovers, meal planning and shopping more frequently,” said Cameron Hawkins, YVSC’s waste diversion director.

Following the all-ages Green Drinks event, everyone is encouraged to head to Bud Werner Memorial Library for a 6:30 p.m. screening of “Rachel Carson,” a documentary about Carson, an author and conservationist whose work was an inspiration for the modern environmental movement.

Waste-Free Lunch Challenge for students

On Friday, local elementary and middle schools will continue their participation in the Waste-Free Lunch Challenge, weighing trash, recycling, compost and unopened food to better understand the food waste taking place on campus.

“Waste diversion and the need to reduce lunchroom waste becomes more concrete when students are up to their elbows in food scraps and milk cartons,” said Anne Mudgett, YVSC communications and development director.

ReTree Steamboat planting

The first of many tree planting opportunities of the season will take place Friday at Hayden Valley Elementary. Upcoming plantings are scheduled for May 7 at Elkhead Reservoir and at Workman Park in Steamboat Springs and Stagecoach State Park on future dates.

To sign up to volunteer at a planting, visit yvsc.org/retree.

Reusable bag giveaway

On Earth Day Saturday, Yampa Valley Sustainability Council will hand out free, reusable shopping bags at City Market beginning at noon and continuing while supplies last.

The bags will help to reduce the 100 billion plastic bags United States consumers use annually.

“Using your own reusable bags when you shop is an easy step all of us can take to avoid plastics and reduce our impact on the environment,” Hawkins said.

More events to come

Additional events for Earth Month include a Give Your Stuff Away Day on May 13, Routt County Cleanup Day on May 20 and a Talking Green event about residential water efficiency on May 23.

For more information about all of the Earth Month activities, visit yvsc.org.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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