Inland Northwest Celebrates 51st Earth Day Week with In-Person and Virtual Events

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Inland Northwest Celebrates 51st Earth Day Week with In-Person and Virtual Events

By Cassy Benefield

Online scavenger hunts a lot like Pokémon Go, but for all things nature, a new university climate center, free tree giveaways, and making your own basket in the Coeur d’Alene tribal practice of twining with recycled plastic grocery store bags are just some of the exciting events planned over the next several days in honor of the 51st Earth Day on April 22.

Spokane County Library Earth Day BioBlitz with iNaturalist

Thursday, April 15, through Thursday, April 22

BioBlitz Online Meet-up: Saturday, April 24, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

The Spokane County Library District is inviting folks of all ages to celebrate Earth Day and biodiversity with a BioBlitz! This is a free event where you record as many plants, animals, insects, etc., as you see onto the free iNaturalist App at one of three parks: Mirabeau Point Park in Spokane Valley, Sutton Park in Cheney, and Library Park in Deer Park. Each park has its own project page on the app. When the week is over, students and faculty from Eastern Washington University Biology department will meet up with those who register for the online event on Saturday, April 24, from 11 a.m.-12 p.m., to answer questions about what people found. More information about this event is online.

Good Stewardship of the Earth Event—Kellogg, Idaho

Friday, April 16, 1-3 p.m.

The Silver Valley Community Resource Center (SVCRC) and Responsible Growth NE Washington (RGNEW) invites their community to the first annual “Good Stewardship of the Earth” event Friday, April 16, from 1-3 p.m. At the event, regional organizations and individuals will be recognized for “taking the necessary steps in calling attention to and building a better understanding of the critical need to protect our environment, our communities, and our family and friends from the effects of environmental degradation,” according to the event flyer. The event will be held at the SVCRC Conference Room (204 Oregon Street, Kellogg, Idaho). For more information, call RGNEW at 509-447-7958.

Coeur d’Alene Earth Week BioBlitz with iNaturalist

Saturday, April 17, through Saturday, April 22

The Coeur d’Alene Public Library invites members of its community to celebrate Earth Day through this socially-distanced community BioBlitz event using the iNaturalist app where people get to explore and document nature in the area. Locations include Coeur d’Alene public parks, Tubbs Hill, or somewhere else in the broader CDA region. According to the event’s project page on iNaturalist.org, “It’s like Pokémon Go—but in real life—with nature!” Also as part of their Earth Day celebration, the CDA library staff will be giving away “Earth Week Badges,” if you mention you’re celebrating Earth Week with them.

More information about this and other Earth Week events, such as story times, can be found on the library’s events page.

Earth Day Free Tree Giveaway

Drive Thru April 17, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Spokane’s Land Council, The City of Spokane Urban Forestry, Avista Utilities, Bartlett Tree Experts, On Track Academy, and the Urban Forest Tree Committee are joining forces to give away free trees in honor of Earth Day this year. This is part of their effort to help increase the urban canopy in Spokane. Available species of trees are Ponderosa Pines, Red Oak, Kousa Dogwood, and Purple Smoke Trees. There will be a limited availability and no more than four trees given away per household. This will be a COVID-safe, drive thru event at two locations: The Community School (1025 W. Spofford Avenue) and On Track Academy (2802 E. Rich Avenue). More information can be found on the Land’s Council website.

One Peace, Many Paths: Climate Change: What Does our Earth Need from Us? A Virtual Living Room Conversation

Sunday, April 18, 4-5:30 p.m.

One Peace, Many Paths is hosting a small-group, structured Zoom conversation across various opinions and perspectives on the topic of caring for the Earth. According to the event’s information page on SpokaneFāVS.com, the hope of this meeting is “to communicate across our differences, honoring our varying experiences, while seeking our commonalities as we all search for answers for how to sustain a healthy planet and meet the myriad needs of all living beings.” Visit their event on SpokaneFāVS.com to find out more or to register.

How to Make Seed Bombs with Spokane Zero Waste and Spokane Public Library

Monday, April 19, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Spokane Zero Waste is partnering with Spokane Public Library for this Earth Day themed talk on how to make seed bombs. According to the event’s description, you will learn how to “sprinkle around a bit of [nature’s] color and beauty while assisting our pollinators.” The talk will also show you how to keep your veggies fresher longer, as well as give you other tips in creating zero waste. The class will be online, and instructions on how to register and what supplies you will need to make these seed bombs are on Spokane Public Library’s website.

Meaningful Movies Spokane Online Conversation about the Film “2040”

Watch Movie Free April 16-23

MMSC Online Panel Community Discussion, Wednesday, April 21, 7 p.m.

Meaningful Movies Spokane with the Unitarian Universalist Church Spokane will be hosting an online panel discussion to discuss the film, “2020.” They suggest watching the movie before the panel conversation, both of which you sign up for separately. MMSC plans on bringing local environmental activists and experts together to discuss more about what’s being done for climate change in Spokane. They will also show ways the community can get involved. For more information, visit their Eventbrite page or email meaningfulmoviesspokane@gmail.com.

Kootenai County Earth Day Community Conversation: Sustainability & Growth

Thursday, April 22, 12-1:30 p.m.

The Civic Engagement Alliance will be hosting an Earth Day community conversation at the McEuen Park Picnic Shelter on Thursday, April 22, from 12-1:30 p.m. The organizers plan on guiding the conversation through a series of questions and discussion points in small groups. They plan on discussing several topics, such as what a sustainable community looks like and the pros and cons of Kootenai County growth and more. Coffee, tea and light refreshments will be provided, but participants are welcome to bring their lunch. They are recommending all who plan to attend to register as they have limited space to hold this gathering. More information can be found on their website.

Gonzaga’s New Climate Center Launch

Thursday, April 22, Live Streaming 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Gonzaga University will be launching their new Center for Climate, Society and the Environment on Earth Day with a Zoom panel discussion featuring Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, Keya Chatterjee, executive director of US Climate Action Network, and environmentalist and co-founder of 350.org, Bill McKibben. You need to register online to get the Zoom link. The following Monday, the New Climate Center will virtually host its first lecture, “Universities in the Ecozoic Era” by Dr. Brian G. Henning. In this lecture, he will share his vision for the Center and its work in the future. You can sign up for that lecture on the Center’s website.

NAACP: Take Action on Energy Justice Training Webinar

Thursday, April 22, 5 p.m.

The NAACP is celebrating Earth Day 2021 by “bringing together experts to discuss the potential avenues energy justice advocates can pursue to ensure critical action steps to a just energy future,” according to Spokane’s NAACP email press release about the event. The purpose is to help people interested in this work know how to promote energy practices that are not only clean, but also just and equitable. If you’re interested, you need to register online. To find out more about the NAACP’s Just Energy Policies and Practices, visit their website.

A Virtual Vigil for the Healing of the Earth

Thursday, April 22, 6-7:30 p.m.

The Faith Leaders and Leaders of Conscience of Eastern Washington will be hosting their third annual Earth Day vigil for the “Healing of the Earth.” The speakers of the event will share their stories of being affected by ecological devastation and will teach ways you can be a force for change toward better environmental practices and policiesEmail FLLConscience@gmail.com for Zoom link.

Lifeways Workshop: Plateau Basics Make Your Own Upcycled Basket

Sunday, April 25, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

The Coeur d’Alene Tribe has a long tradition of being good stewards of their environment, and this Cultural Tourism Lifeways workshop to “Make Your Own Upcycled Basket” will showcase their “time-perfected technique of twining to create round baskets called ‘Sally Bags,’” according to the event’s website. At this workshop, attendees will use recycled plastic grocery bags to construct a Columbia Plateau basket. It’s a six-hour event at the Coeur d’Alene Casino (37914 S. Nukwalqw, Worley, ID) for ages 15 and over. The cost of the event is $55, and lunch is included. Tickets need to be bought in advance on the website.

About Cassy Benefield

Cassandra Benefield mostly goes by Cassy (pronounced like Cassie but spelled with a 'y'). She is a wife and mommy, who married at the age of 37 and had her baby girl just shy of 39. She has moved around all her life, first as an Army brat. She is a returned Peace Corps volunteer to Romania where she taught Conversational English, Modern Literature, Creative Writing, U.S. Culture, U.S. Geography, and U.S. History (the last two subjects she was so not qualified to teach!). She is a Journalism major from Cal Poly Technical University in San Luis Obispo, Calif. She finds much comfort in her Savior, Jesus Christ, and considers herself a Bible nerd who is prone to buy more theology books than she is ever able to read. Morro Bay, California, is her favorite place on earth ... with the exception of being in the center of God's will. From time to time, you will find her writing devotions on her blog underhisshadow.blogspot.com.

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