by LAURA HAYES
After the Winona City Council reallocated the money usually spent on Earth Day celebrations elsewhere, Tove Wiggs, faced with a possibility that the holiday may not be celebrated in Winona, made a decision. “I couldn’t let Earth Day not happen,” she explained.
A lover of the outdoors and nature, Wiggs decided to take charge to plan an Earth Day filled with education and fun. “We only have one [planet]. We should really take care of it. I think we should seek ways to be kinder to our planet,” Wiggs explained.
The Winona Earth Day and Arbor Day celebration will take place this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the East End Recreation Center. Throughout the day there will be live music, educational booths hosted by local organizations like Healthy Lake Winona and the Winona Area Pollinators, and 1,000 trees to give away. Wiggs said that the city is bringing a boom truck, and they planned on lowering the bucket to the ground for kids to look at. People can participate in yoga and meditation classes and walk around the farmers market. At 1 p.m., there will be a community bike ride to plant trees downtown.
Riverway Learning Community (RLC) is one of the organizations participating in the Earth Day celebrations. Primary Leader of Teaching and Learning Patrick Sheedy said that all of the students, staff, and parents would be participating in the event as part of RLC’s third and final Saturday School day of the year. According to Sheedy, the students will participate in the event in a number of ways — one group of students will work with the Master Gardeners to teach people how to plant saplings, some will highlight the scientists’ march in Washington, D.C., and others will show off how to make art, flowerpots, and jewelry out of recycled materials. Additionally, RLC will bring a bus to Earth Day and talk about the efficiencies of using public transportation.
In the past, RLC has celebrated Earth Day at the school, and last year, the school decided to shift its celebration to be part of the Winona-wide festivities. “It’s always a challenge to have all of the students involved all of the time,” Sheedy said. This year, Sheedy said that staff are pushing to have students lead activities. This is one opportunity for our community to give back to Winona and not only show what we’re doing at our schools, but also educate others, he said.
Environmentalism and sustainability is embedded in RLC’s mission and curriculum. Projects can range from classroom-specific challenges to eat well or bike more to school-wide initiatives that track the school’s food waste and energy use. “Every day should be Earth Day,” Sheedy said.
Winona Earth Day and Arbor Day celebration will take place on April 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the East End Recreation Center. This year, Wiggs hoped to create a nonprofit organization to support the Winona Earth Day and Arbor Day celebrations. Wiggs is crowdfunding to help pay for the event’s organizers. To donate, visit https://www.razoo.com/story/Cpynxf.