Earth Day 2012 is all about building good habits, beginning with its "zero-waste" policy.
Last year, more than 2,200 people came out for the annual Earth Day celebration and, thanks to their eco-conscious habits, only generated one 5-gallon bucket of trash. Local food vendors used durable, rather than disposable, utensils and cups and biodegradable dishes and napkins, which were later collected for composting. Visitors were encouraged to bring their own water bottles to fill at the Water on Wheels station. And even the event signs were crafted from scrap and recycled materials.
What: Earth Day 2012
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 21
Where: ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum, 1500 E. Main St., Ashland
"There are zero-waste stations, staffed by volunteers, with receptacles for recyclables, compostables and durables," says Paige Prewett, event manager.
"It's an excellent demonstration of how folks can take these ideas home and practice them throughout the year. They can make every day Earth Day."
This year, event organizers hope to maintain their green streak. The 11th annual Earth Day festival will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 21, outdoors at ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum, 1500 E. Main St., Ashland.
The event will stress the importance of sustainable lifestyles at home, work and school. There will be more than 70 exhibits by local businesses, nonprofits and government organizations that show practical ways to divert waste from landfills, to employ renewable energy sources and to incorporate green and local products into everyday living.
New this year, Harry & David will introduce its Green Promise program and explain its commitment to recycling, responsible purchasing and low-impact farming.
E-vehicles, including a Nissan LEAF, Mitsubishi i, Chevrolet Volt, Brammo Enertia motorcycle and electric bikes, will be on hand for viewing, not test-driving.
"In recognition of the U.N.'s International Year of Cooperatives, we're also featuring a co-op plaza to highlight how local cooperatives (specifically, Siskiyou Sustainable Cooperative, Ashland Food Co-op, Grange Co-op and Rogue Federal Credit Union) add to the vitality of the community," Prewett says.
Live music is scheduled throughout the day, including Caribbean, Brazilian and West African rhythms by the Hand in Hand Drummers at 11 a.m.; traditional Irish music by Jug of Punch and 14-year-old Grants Pass fiddler Sean Connors at 1 p.m.; and Eastern European dance music by the Bar Misfits Klezmer Band at 2:45 p.m.
Creative Dance for Children, led by Cassie Preskenis, also will perform modern, hula, swing, Latin and multicultural folk dances at 12:15 p.m.
Children will find a host of hands-on activities, eco-friendly crafts and field games available at various locations.
"The kids are the ones dragging the parents out, not the parents dragging the kids," Prewett says.
In addition to its regular exhibits, ScienceWorks will host a speaker series, titled "Giving Voice, Taking Action." Speakers are Jeff Allen, executive director of Drive Oregon; Kim Zwemer-Margulis, storyteller and author of "Shadowchaser of the Siskiyous"; David Moen, a Ventana Wildlife Society biologist; and James Stark, director of the Regenerative Design Institute and Ecology of Leadership program.
All presentations are free and will be in the museum's SciTheater. For more information and a schedule, see www.scienceworksmuseum.org. ScienceWorks museum fees apply to all other indoor exhibits.
Visitors are encouraged to bike, carpool or ride the free Rogue Valley Transportation District shuttle direct to ScienceWorks from several locations in Medford and Ashland. In addition, RVTD offers free service to all riders Saturday. This year, there also will be an additional shuttle service from Grants Pass and Rogue River. For a comprehensive transportation schedule and more information, see www.roguevalleyearthday.net or call 541-482-6767.