Whidbey celebrates Earth and ocean

Islanders love the earth they live on and the water that surrounds them. Almost every year since 2006, they have come together for an annual fest that offers opportunities to express appreciation for their environment and to work at keeping it as pristine as possible.

This year the effort spans the month of April, with activities designed to appeal to every age and interest, from a show of works by artists who “get their hands dirty” to work parties and field trips highlighting the jobs and information needed for the preservation of the island ecosystem. It’s known as Whidbey Earth and Ocean Month, centered on the official Earth Day celebration on April 22.

The theme of 2018 is “Get Outside & Take Action!” An Earth Day Festival on Saturday, April 21, from noon to 4 p.m. at Bayview Corner, will reflect that theme and include lectures from well-known experts, exhibitors from organizations all across Whidbey Island, musical events and kids’ activities.

Early rising bird enthusiasts on Saturday can go on a migratory bird tour led by Whidbey Audubon to Protection Island at 7 a.m. For more information or to reserve a space, contact Sharon Gauthier at 425-466-2460.

Starting the festival at noon, Dr. Randall Berthold will give a talk on the interrelationship of earth systems in climate science. A later presentation by Whidbey Watershed Stewards’ Executive Director Rick Baker will discuss changing conditions in the Salish Sea. Other programs will focus on electric vehicles, low-impact development, noxious weeds and “car-less commuting,” among other topics.

At 12:45 p.m. everyone is invited to gather in the Farmers Market lot to form a “Peace Sign” for a community photo.

All during the festival visitors can browse exhibits at Bayview Hall and learn from groups such as the Citizens Climate Lobby, Good Cheer, the Whidbey Institute, South Whidbey Tilth, Whidbey Camano Land Trust and many others. There will also be kids’ activities to keep little ones excited.

An art exhibit in the Bayview Cash Store called “Rags, Rubbish, and Refuse: Artists Who Get Dirty” will feature works made exclusively from recycled and repurposed materials from over 15 local artists. It will be on view through May 6.

Later during the month, on April 27-28, the Prairie Days Festival will be held at the Pacific Rim Institute for Environmental Stewardship in Coupeville, featuring guided tours, a native plant sale and other events. Details are available at 360-678-5586.

For a full schedule of Earth and Ocean Month events on Whidbey, visit www.whidbeyearthday.org.

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