Big Weekend: Celebrate Blossom Festival, Earth Day

Earth Day’s traditional high-profile event in Hood River, Procession of the Species, is in hiatus this year, but plenty of other activities are offered on and around the April 22 observance. (For a full list, see our guide to Blossom Festival and Earth Day events, inserted in this edition.)

It’s a happy union, that of Blossom Festival and Earth Day in Hood River County. In this community, they occur together every year, and go together in spirit, as community members unite to celebrate the beauty of this place we call home.

Earth Day events go beyond park cleanups. The recently merged GO! Network and Columbia Gorge Earth Center take the opportunity this weekend to educate the community on environmental issues, and to celebrate some of those in the community who work for sustainability. The third-annual Tod LeFevre Sustainability Award will also be awarded to a person or group “working on innovative, creative solutions to the environmental, economic and social issues facing the Gorge.”

In addition, Gorge Ecumenical Ministries hosts an “Earth Day and Night” potluck, film and discussion on climate change.

Between Blossom and Earth Day events, there is much for members of the community to take part in, or to ponder.

As the world grapples with the dynamics of climate change and issues such as coal transport and other resource-based concerns in the Gorge or farther afield, it can feel like the average person has no impact. That is not the case, as an event on Monday will demonstrate.

Profiled on A1, “Every Day is Earth Day: School Garden Symposium” is a joint effort of Hood River Middle School, AmeriCorps and Gorge Grown Food Network. It will help students from around the Gorge learn about gardening, solar energy, care of the soil and other topics, tied together via STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — education.

As evidenced by highly effective garden programs at HRMS and Mosier Community School, when children are introduced to these practices in the right way, they take them to heart, and pass them along. Programs such as these teach academically critical skills in ways that are hands-on — indeed, hands-dirty.

Along with the Gorge Owned events over the weekend, there will be plenty to engage children, and adults, raising all our awareness of the way we are connected to our earth.

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