A plethora of green initiatives blossomed in Vernon in celebration of Earth Day 2022.
Civic Square was transformed into an Earth Day market April 23, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Local vendors displayed their upcycled, low-carbon or otherwise environmentally friendly products as the crowd mingled to the sound of live music.
The market was the place to be for art aficionados, as artists such as UBCO fine arts student Serena Laura were there showcasing and selling their original works.
On 30th Avenue, the Sustainable Environment Network Society (SENS) was stationed at Nature’s Fare giving out free trees in five varieties to anyone in want of one. Within one hour, 1,000 trees had been given out, and the group planned to give away 2,000 in total.
“Trees provide a myriad of benefits to mankind. Through photosynthesis they absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. Wildlife are able to use trees as their habitats. Some trees provide food and medicine,” said SENS director Terry Dyck.
People who picked up a tree were given a hand-out with instructions on how to plant and care for them.
On Friday, students at W.L. Seaton Secondary handed out free produce bags made of donated, repurposed fabric, and sewn by students in grades 8 to 12. The students kept away from polyester fabric in favour of cotton, so that the bags are compostable at the end of their life cycle.
“We made almost 1,000 bags in total and the RDNO purchased some back to help distribute during farmer’s markets and fairs,” said Seaton teacher Pam Taylor. “We have 500 bags today, they’re all made from upcycled, donated material that has gone through a sanitation cycle.”
Taylor said it’s easy to get today’s kids involved in Earth Day activities.
“They can see the writing on the wall,” she explained. “They’re much more empowered to take control over things.”
The school secured ReTHINK Waste Project grants through the Regional District of North Okanagan in both 2019 and 2020. Taylor said they have about seven green projects on the go, including making snack bags for kids, reusable menstrual products and reusable Christmas bags.
Earth Day also saw members of the North Okanagan Shuswap Green Party tour the Swan Lake Nature Reserve Park. North Okanagan Naturalists Club guies Norbert Maertens and Harold Sellers shared their knowledge of the area and introduced tour-goers to the new viewing platform, telescoping bird boxes, bat box, brush piles that provide a safe haven for small animals and birds, and more.
“Earth day is a time to stop and think how much our planet and all the people and creatures that live on it mean to us,” Green Party member Jane Weixl said. “It is a time to celebrate successes in protecting the planet. It is also a time to consider what more needs to be done.”
In Armstrong, a Green Fair was held at the IPE fair grounds Saturday, hosted by the Armstrong Spallumcheen Environmental Trust.