This year’s Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Earth Day Celebration theme was “Let’s Go Green.” The 12th annual event was held on Saturday, April 9, at the Two Waters Complex. Community member Amy Miguel, senior environmental specialist–environmental compliance, gave the opening statement, followed by a prayer from SRPMIC Council Member Tom Largo. Safety tips were provided to the participants before they went out to their assigned cleanup projects. Salt River Fitness Center staff member Nevelle Howard provided a quick warm-up stretch to begin the day.
Before participants broke up into 12 groups and went to their sites throughout the Community, Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Manager Chris Horan gave the groups specific instructions about their assignments. Sites around the Community that were attended to this year were the Community Garden, Lehi wetlands, Beeline planting project, standpipe painting, roadway cleanup, and projects at the Dobson Heights, Red Mountain and VAII housing sites. A household hazardous waste collection was held in the north lot.
The Earth Day Environmental Fair featured many vendors, including SRPMIC departments and organizations such as Salt River Project, Scottsdale Community College.. The booths featured a variety of environmentally friendly activities for all age groups.
Participants were given wristbands to ensure free admission to the barbecue lunch after the event.
New this year, the youth poster contest was held a bit early so contestants had time to submit their artwork, have it judged in a preliminary round, and then have a final judging take place about two weeks before the Earth Day celebration.
“This enabled me to tally the votes, determine the winners by majority vote, and begin the shopping process to have their prizes ready for the award ceremony on the day of [the] Earth Day [celebration],” said Miguel.
In previous years the prizes were given out after the Earth Day event, and it took some time with gathering and distributing all the prizes. “This year it was fun to watch the children’s faces when they came up in front of the crowd to be recognized and be awarded a prize. The comments from the parents were very positive because they, of course, were the winners’ biggest fans,” shared Miguel.
This year the prizes included $100 gift certificates from local vendors, scooters and “rip sticks” with helmets, and free admission to Butterfly Wonderland and Octane Raceway.
This year the event also featured an art activity led by Salt River Elementary School kindergarten teacher Dawn Meyers and Library/Media Center Specialist Nancy Yurek. Meyers contacted her local Fry’s grocery store and received 60 paper bags to be decorated by kids during the Earth Day event. The decorated bags were collected and will be returned to Fry’s for distribution on April 22, the official Earth Day.
“Mrs. Meyers, Mrs. Yurek and I encouraged the artists to create masterpieces depicting their interpretation of what Earth Day meant to them and to include a little bit about our Community by sharing our language and the land we cared for [in the cleanup],” said Miguel. “We plan to continue this activity for next year’s event as well.”
Every year the organizers try to make the SRPMIC Earth Day Celebration as exciting as the years before, and the poster contest coordinator welcomes any and all feedback. Comments and ideas may be submitted to Amy.Miguel@SRPMIC-nsn.gov.
Earth Day Results
Earth Day Attendees – 900+
2375 lbs of waste were diverted from the landfill (about 360 lbs more than the Fall Overhaul HHW collection)
For earth day this year we collected 420 lbs. from clean-up sites
Here are the totals for the HHW collection event:
Latex paint 600 lb
Fluorescent bulbs 20 lb
Flammable paint related material 200 lb
Aerosol cans 110 lb
Flammable liquids 140 lb
Pesticides 75 b
Acids 80 lb
Used oil 900 lb
Antifreeze 100 lb
Medical sharps 100 lb
Medicines 50 lb