Senator Chuck Wiger: We Can All Take Part in Earth Day

“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.”- John Lubbock

This year marks the official two-year countdown to the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22, 1970, when 20 million people across the United States called for action and advocated for the protection of our natural resources.

This celebration helped enact the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act. It also helped establish the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Before Earth Day, millions of Americans experienced exposure to environmental degradation and pollution. Since then, the EPA and other organizations have made tremendous strides in the effort to protect our natural resources and our citizens from the effects of industrialization. Presently, Earth Day serves as a positive reminder that we should all be stewards of our environment and do our part to make our world a safer, cleaner, and better place.

Over the next two years, Earth Day Network will support two different initiatives to work towards the greater goal of sustainability by 2020. This year’s theme is “End Plastic Pollution.” The goal is to change human attitude and behavior about plastic products. From poisoning marine life to clogging our waste streams and landfills, it is clear the growth of plastic use is a threat to our planet. In order to raise awareness of this issue, this year’s theme “End Plastic Pollution” seeks to significantly reduce plastic pollution by educating and mobilizing citizens across the globe.

Earth Day is a great reminder for us to continue to reduce our environmental footprint and limit our energy consumption. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency lists a few simple ways we can all get a little greener in our everyday life through checking for toilet leaks, reducing food waste, and recycling. Changing simple habits can have a profound effect on the world around us. Learn more about what you can do by visiting www.pca.state.mn.us/living-green.

I am proud to say that our region has developed numerous groups and longstanding traditions that aim to give back to our natural world and better our community for its people and visitors. In 2015, Oakdale won the first-ever City Sustainability Award for its Generation Green Sustainability Program by the League of Minnesota Cities. Other cities across our area have pledged to work towards greater sustainability by becoming a GreenStep City.

As individuals, it is easy to participate in the Earth Day festivities. Over the next few weeks, communities across the state are holding events in support of Earth Day. Here are just a few of the events that are happening within our area.

Mahtomedi

Mahtomedi will be celebrating its 11th annual Earth Day event, RITE (Really Into The Earth) of Spring, Saturday, April 28. The event takes place at the Mahtomedi District Education Center from 10 a.m. — 1 p.m. and includes educational workshops and info-stations, electronics recycling, unused medication disposal, guided trail walks and giveaways.

Washington County will be on site for free recycling from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Items accepted include fluorescent bulbs, household cleaners, computers and monitors, keyboards, TVs, DVDs, cell phones, paint, anti-freeze, motor oil and batteries.

North St. Paul

There will be an Earth Day clean up on Saturday, April 21 at Southwood Nature Preserve. Volunteers will assist naturalists in removing invasive plants and cleaning up trash. The event is from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. Please bring gloves, rakes and clippers.

A complimentary lunch will be served at noon at the North High Track and Field House. The rain date is Saturday, April 28.

Also on Saturday, April 28, the Southwood Nature Preserve has an all-day Celebrate Earth Day event.

Maplewood

The Maplewood All Parks Clean Up will be Saturday, April 21. Bags and gloves, along with coffee and snacks, will be available from 8 to 10 a.m. in the lower level of the Maplewood Community Center.

Oakdale

Oakdale’s Park Clean Up Week will be April 23 to 27 at the Discovery Center, 4444 Hadley Ave. N., any time during park hours. You can register by calling 651-747-3860.

People are encouraged to help Oakdale parks get rid of the debris and clutter that have accumulated over the winter months. Businesses, Scout groups, schools, daycare centers and civic groups are encouraged to participate. Garbage bags are provided and each participant will receive a complimentary thank you gift.

Ramsey County

The Annual Ramsey County parks Earth Day Cleanup will be held April 21 starting at 9 a.m. The event is geared towards volunteers of all ages and the focus of the cleanup is to pick up trash and beautify the parks for the beginning of spring. Events are being held at the following locations:

Tamarack Nature Center

5287 Otter Lake Road, White Bear Township, MN 55110

Maplewood Community Center

2100 White Bear Ave, Maplewood, MN 55109

White Bear Lake

White Bear Lake residents will join with White Bear Township for “Trash to Treasure” Day on Saturday, April 28, all day. People are asked to place unwanted items at the end of their driveways, clearly marked as “Free.” Please have the items out as early as possible. Treasure hunters will have the opportunity to pick up items that are marked “Free” any time, all day.

As always, please contact me with questions or suggestions regarding any issue. I encourage you to visit me at the Capitol, or let me know if you’d like me to stop by your home or apartment. I can be reached by email at sen.chuck.wiger@senate.mn and by phone at 651-296-6820 or by cell at 651-770-0283.

This article was first published in the White Bear Press.

Senator Chuck Wiger
Chuck Wiger represents District 43, which includes portions of Ramsey and Washington counties in the northeastern Twin Cities metropolitan area.

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