Say hello again to Eschrichtius robustus.
That’s everybody’s most welcome friend, the Gray whale, who hangs out in pods in the Saratoga Passage and inspires Langley’s Welcome the Whales Day Parade. This year marks the ninth annual critter parade on Saturday, April 21.
The next day, Sunday, April 22, renew that vow to Mother Earth and celebrate Earth Day at Bayview Corner. It’s that time of year, when South Whidbey celebrates the great blessings of earth and ocean all weekend long in Langley, in Bayview and, this year, with a film in Freeland.
Orca Network, Homeplace Special Care, and the Langley Chamber of Commerce sponsor Welcome the Whales Day this year to honor the arrival of resident gray whales.
Take part in hands-on educational displays, costume-making and kids’ activities at the Methodist Church Fellowship Hall in Langley beginning at 11 a.m. Staging for the parade begins at
1 p.m. in the lot across the street from the church, with the parade starting at
1:30, going up Second Street and down First Street and ending at Langley Waterfront Park. A blessing of the whales by Windwalker Taibi will follow with music and a celebration on the beach, while watching for Gray whales in the passage.
Presentations will be held at Langley Methodist Church from 3 to 5 p.m., where Orca Network will give an update on the local pod, and Dr. Bruce Mate of Oregon State University Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station will speak about the results of his tracking Gray whales from Russia, who visited lagoons in Baja California and how that research has affected what is known about the Western Pacific Gray whale population, and how it might interact with the Eastern Pacific Gray whale population. Visit www.mmi.oregonstate.edu/Sakhalin2011 to learn more.
For more information about the Welcome the Whales Day events or to buy a “Welcome the Whales Day” flag created by local artist Mary Jo Oxrieder, go to www.orcanetwork.org/news/events.html or visit www.visitlangley.com.
Continue the celebration all around Bayview Corner in Langley on Sunday at the Earth Day festival.
Organizer Marian Myszkowski, of the Goosefoot Community Fund, reiterated the idea of coming together as a community to embrace the spirit of honoring the Earth.
“It’s the face-to-face, meet your neighbor, inter-generational and celebratory aspects of this event that we enjoy,” Myszkowski said.
“Anything worth celebrating is certainly worth taking better care of.”
Dances of Universal Peace open the festivities of Earth Day at noon and keynote speaker Vicki Robin follows at 12:30 p.m. and welcomes earth lovers with “Blessing the Hands That Feed Us,” about the flourishing Whidbey Island food system and the topic of her newest book.
The day continues with lots of information tables in the Cash Store on everything from environmental stewardship and solar power, to farmer training and seriously occupying one’s bike. There will be electric car and tiny house displays, children’s art activities, stilt walking with Larry Dobson and wine tastings. Take a workshop on backyard veggie gardening or drought tolerant container gardens or enjoy live performances by Comedy Island improv and the marimba bands Mweya and Chenjera.
Organizers of Earth Day at Bayview corner said that the most important thing to remember about living on the planet is this: “That we can make a big difference by our everyday actions and the organizations that are here at the Earth Day fest can help us learn exactly how.”
Myszkowski said the annual Earth Day Festival is possible only because of the volunteer efforts and talents of dozens of South Whidbey community members including educators, activists, farmers and performers who all donate their talents and time to the celebration.
Admission is free.
The Earth Day Festival has earned the Whidbey Green Seal of approval by the Sustainable Whidbey Coalition. There are
40 Whidbey Green Seal Members to date on the island. To find out more, about the project visit www.sustainablewhidbey.org/projects/greenseal.
‘Carbon Nation’ screening
As part of this year’s Earth Day celebration the Whidbey Island chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby and Whidbey Telecom present a screening of “Carbon Nation,” a feature documentary film by Peter Byck at 7 p.m. Saturday,
April 21 at Whidbey Tel Customer Experience Center, 1651 Main St. in Freeland.
The film celebrates solutions to climate change and illustrates why it’s smart to be a part of the new, low-carbon economy: it’s good business, it emboldens national and energy security, and it improves health and the environment. Visit www.carbonnationmovie.com for more information.
Admission is free.
Welcome the Whales Day and Earth Day Festival, April 21 and 22
For a complete schedule of Whales Day events in Langley visit www.visitlangley.com or www. orcanetwork.org. For a schedule of Earth Day events at Bayview Corner visit www.goosefoot.org.