Our View: Sustaining sustainability | SteamboatToday.com

Our View: Sustaining sustainability

It's no secret that we often do things a little bit different here in the Yampa Valley. Our recognition of Earth Day is no different.

Typically recognized every April 22 in communities across the globe, Earth Day in Routt County was postponed a month this year to better accommodate our spring break and mud season schedules. Despite the delay, the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, in cooperation with numerous other local organizations and businesses, has put together a full slate of events for Saturday that will provide invaluable educational and practical lessons for all of us.

There's such a wide variety of events this weekend that there's a way for everyone to get involved, from the fun of exchanging unwanted furniture and other household items with neighbors and strangers, to introducing your children to the variety of migratory birds that pass through our valley each year. On the practical end of the spectrum, Saturday's "Every Day is Earth Day" schedule includes yard waste and building materials drop-off stations at Howelsen Hill.

Not to be overlooked is Saturday's grand opening of the Community Roots Garden in Old Town Steamboat, a project that not only will yield local produce but will provide fantastic educational opportunities for future generations of Routt County children not always exposed to the wonder of food cultivation and harvest.

Here's a rundown of Saturday's events:

■ Yampatika will lead a celebration of International Migratory Bird Day with family-friendly activities at the Environmental Learning Center at Legacy Ranch, U.S. Highway 40 and Colorado Highway 131. Bird walks are from 7 to 10 a.m., children's activities are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., noon speakers will address bird migration, and adult activities include a 1 p.m. workshop about pollinator gardening. Take a picnic lunch, and park at Bald Eagle Lake. Call 970-871-9151 for more information.

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■ The county's fourth annual Highway Clean-Up Day starts with breakfast pastries and registration from 8 to 8:30 a.m. on the Routt County Courthouse lawn. The clean-up itself is from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and will be followed by a barbecue lunch and prizes at the Howelsen Hill Beach. Wear sturdy shoes and long pants, and take gloves, a backpack, water and sunscreen. Safety vests and trash bags will be provided. Preregister by calling 970-870-5588 or e-mail hsavalox@co.routt.co.us.

■ The grand opening of the Community Roots Garden at 629 Oak St. is from 9 to 10 a.m. and will include a ribbon cutting, the handing off of garden management responsibilities, and a community celebration. The garden was a special project of this year's Leadership Steamboat class and will be overseen by the Routt County Extension Office. Call 860-309-2871 or e-mail caitieberry@yahoo.com.

■ Give Your Stuff Away Day is perhaps Saturday's most interesting event. The intent is to give residents a chance to get rid of clutter by encouraging them to take their valuable, but unwanted, household items and furniture to the curb, where other residents are free to drive by and grab anything that interests them. The event encourages re-using worthwhile items while reducing the amount of stuff that goes to the landfill. There are some guidelines to follow to make the event a success. First, don't put out trash, recyclables, food, drugs, chemicals, weapons or any other illegal or dangerous items. Second, if your items aren't taken, don't leave them at your curb. There will be no trash trucks coming by to haul your stuff away. If no one wanted it, take it back into your house and consider getting rid of it by donating it to organizations such as LIFT-UP of Routt County or Home ReSource.

■ A Yard Waste Drop-off is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Howelsen Hill near the concession stand. Sponsored by Routt County, the city of Steamboat Springs, Yampa Valley Recycles and Twin Enviro Services, the drop-off encourages residents to bring yard waste such as grass, sticks, branches, leaves and garden cuttings. Because organic materials are biodegradable, disposing them in landfills just takes up space while generating excess methane gas. Twin Enviro Services, which operates the Milner Landfill, will use the yard waste at its composting facility. Call 970-879-6985 for more information.

■ Finally, Home ReSource is sponsoring a Building Materials Drop-off, also from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Howelsen Hill near the concession stand. Home ReSource, a nonprofit organization next to the Milner Landfill, will collect used building materials and other items. Visit http://www.salvageit.org or call 970-879-6985 to ask about acceptable drop-off items.

It's exciting to see continued growth in our local efforts to reduce our impact on the environment, and to teach children the value of such efforts. Let's applaud and follow the work of the Sustainability Council and the many other groups and businesses that are embracing green measures .

The natural beauty of our surroundings is one factor that makes Northwest Colorado such a wonderful place to live. Any efforts we undertake to preserve our natural environment and reduce our impact on it are worth celebrating, and Saturday provides plenty of good opportunities to do so.

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