Four ways to celebrate Earth Day in Ashland

An Earth Day celebrant gets in some hula-hoop time at a prior SOU event. This year's will be Friday at a new location: The Farm on Walker Avenue. SOU photo
April 20, 2022

‘Extravaganza’ on Friday kicks off three days of events

By Anne Bellegia

Ashland celebrates Earth Day with four events over three days offering everything from music to giant bubbles to electric vehicles to food trucks to trash pickup.

Thanks to the recent easing of pandemic restrictions, Ashlanders have a bevy of in-person events from which to choose: Earth Day Extravaganza 2022 on Friday, April 22, at “The Farm” on Walker Avenue, trash pickup along the Greenway on Saturday, April 23, and events at the Ashland Food Co-op and at Temple Emek Shalom on Sunday, April 24.

Earth Day Extravaganza offers games, crafts, tours, educational exhibits, mini workshops and musical entertainment from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at The Farm at Southern Oregon University (SOU) at 155 Walker Ave. The free, public event, previously hosted elsewhere on campus, has moved and expanded to incorporate a number of the popular features of Rogue Valley Earth Day (RVED), another established Earth Day tradition that had taken place on the front lawn of ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum but won’t be held this year.

The afterschool-to-early-evening time frame is intended to suit the schedules of kids, their families, retirees and those getting off work. Food trucks will be on hand with food and beverages for purchase. Admission to ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum, which is adjacent to The Farm, is free during the event. Those who carpool, bike, walk or take the bus to The Farm will be in sync with the ecological goals of Earth Day. Visit the SOU Extravaganza website for more details of what to do, how to get there and where to park.

“The student organizers and I are excited to host an event for Earth Day that appeals to people of all ages,” said Jill Smedstad, Equity Coordinator for Sustainability and Basic Needs Resourcing at SOU. “Sustainability, equity and inclusion are at the core of SOU’s institutional values, and we hope that by bringing this event to The Farm location and broadening its scope we can motivate more folks to take action toward a just and sustainable world.”

“Ashland provides fertile ground for a key strategic direction of the university,” said Vincent Smith, director of SOU’s Division of Business, Communication and the Environment. “SOU is on track to becoming the foremost environmentally sustainable institution of higher education in the country. By integrating sustainability, the environment and conservation into our curriculum, facilities, housing and research we can promote an ecologically resilient bioregion.”

Three additional environmentally focused events will occur later this weekend.

Bear Creek Stewards is seeking volunteers for trash pickup at nine locations along the Bear Creek Greenway. The Ashland-Talent section checks in at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, April 23, in the gravel area on the east side of Highway 99 north of South Valley View Road and just south of Talent Avenue. Pickup will be from 9 a.m. to noon along the adjacent Greenway. Details of how to register to participate can be found at bearcreekstewards.org.

On Sunday, April 24, the Ashland Food Co-op parking lot will be filled with ecologically-themed fun and informational displays for those of all ages from noon to 3 p.m. Activities include playing with giant bubbles, creating chalk art, picking up a seed kit and viewing exhibits. The Co-op parking lot will be closed to cars starting at 7 a.m., but Umpqua Bank will allow parking in its section of the lot. For more details, go to the Co-op website.

Also on Sunday, Temple Emek Shalom and Southern Oregon Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Association (SOHEVA) are co-sponsoring another version of Earth Day fun and “fact-tivities” from 1 to 4 p.m. on the parking lots for the temple and Grace Point Church next door at 1800 East Main St. The educational component will focus on alternative energy, water conservation, home and water heating and electric vehicles, with an opportunity to test drive the latter. Music, food trucks, kids’ activities and free bike tune-ups round out the afternoon’s offerings. Attendees are asked to support the Ashland Food Bank by bringinga non-perishable food item to donate. More information is available at emekshalom.org or soheva.net.

Longtime Ashland resident Anne Bellegia is active in the community, including at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), where she wrote this article for the Community Journalism Class being taught by Ashland.news board member Paul Steinle and Executive Editor Bert Etling.

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Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.
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