It leaves you if you don’t care for it |

It leaves you if you don’t care for it

Shauna Farnell
Illustration by Dawn Beacon

EAGLE-VAIL – With so much natural beauty around us, it doesn’t seem right that only four other states in America are worse at recycling than Colorado, according to the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability. The Alliance shows that while the national recycling rate is 28 percent, Colorado’s rate is just 2.6 percent.Organizers of Saturday’s Earth Day celebration in Eagle-Vail hope that while providing some free learning and fun activities for children and families, they can persuade individuals to make long-term, small changes in order to better preserve the earth and its resources.”There are little things everyone can do every day to make a difference,” said Kay Graybill, one of the organizers of Saturday’s Earth Day celebration, which includes a community sculpture labyrinth made from recyclable materials, herb garden-planting, paper-making and environmental passport booth-visiting. Materials at all the stations and the event itself is possible thanks to a grant from the Vail Valley Foundation.Local bands All Strung Out and One Left Foot will provide bluegrass tunes for the festivities, which aim to educate participants on recycling habits and the virtues of organic produce.

“We want to start the kids young so it becomes a habit,” Graybill said. “We want to get everyone together and take care of what we have before it’s gone.”America is vastly behind many other western countries in recycling. The Eagle Valley Alliance points out that the country could rebuild its entire commercial air fleet with the amount of aluminum Americans throw away every three months. Also, if every American recycled one-tenth of his or her newsprint, around 25 million trees could be saved every year.”It’s our mindset in the U.S., starting with fast food restaurants and the amount of garbage coming from food orders,” said All Strung Out’s Ron Mitchell. “There’s no way our society is going to want to get rid of that. We’ve sort of created a monster with the way we conduct our daily lifestyles. There’s always room for improvement.”Organizers of the community sculpture project encourage people to bring items that aren’t regularly recycled, like cardboard boxes and paperboard.”We want to get the message out that you can recycle these things,” Graybill said. “Every time you go to a dumpster, you see a cardboard box. It’s a crime. Magazines are something else that a lot of people don’t recycle. These things are such commodities. We can recycle them.”In an effort to educate people on the merit of organically grown products, the Battle Mountain High School greenhouse will be open on Saturday, where people can purchase organically grown herbs. Soil and tools will be provided for individuals who want to bring a container and create their own herb garden to take home.

“Growing things in a sustainable manner is important and growing things organically is important,” said Susan Mackin Dolan, who recently resurrected the high school greenhouse. “I’d like children and students to know that it’s important and why it is important. You don’t want to eat poison. Frankly, the farming techniques in this country are very polluting and they end up in people’s bodies. It’s not a healthy situation. If you teach it to young children, it stays with them.”Mackin Dolan has been an organic gardener since she was a teenager, having picked up the habit in the 1960s. She has also been making paper out of recyclable materials for the last 30 years and will teach others to do so on Saturday. Paper makers can write a letter on their take-home piece of paper or bury it, as it contains organic seeds that will biodegrade and eventually grow.”We have some pulp made from blue jeans and recycled artist prints,” Mackin Dolan said. “We’ll put some seeds in one of the vats, so you can stick the sheet of paper in the ground and the seeds will grow. This will be a nice piece of paper to write on. They’ll be able to scoop the fiber out of a tub, press it and form it and take it home to dry.”Organizers of the Earth Day celebration are a part of EARTH -Environmental Awareness Reaches the Home, whose mission is to promote healthy air, water and soil through education of waste reduction and organic gardening.”I think it’s important to be mindful about how you live every day – what you think, and how you live,” Mackin Dolan said. “It’s part of a mindful lifestyle.”

What: Free live music, sculpture-building, education stations and paper-makingWhen: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. SaturdayWhere: Eagle-Vail Pavilion in Eagle-VailInformation: Volunteers are needed for food booths and stations. Those interested in volunteering should contact Kay Graybill at 476-9076 or send their contact information to Donations of paperboard material can be made at the pavilion beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday for the sculptureStaff Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 949-0555, ext.14632, or, Colorado

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