A Weekend of Earth Day

A weekend's worth of eco-conscious activities are waiting to help you celebrate Earth Day 2015 in Santa Cruz.

by Hannah Moore

April 13, 2015—Earth Day doesn't happen until Wednesday, April 22, but Santa Cruz is set to begin celebrating early, with an official Earth Day celebration this Saturday the 18th. So, we ask, why not make a weekend of it?

The festivities start this Friday night with a wildlife film at the Rio Theatre. See six years' worth of Big Sur wildlife footage, including bobcats and condors, captured by Santa Cruz filmmakers Karen and Kennan Ward in It's A Wild Life.

On Saturday it's all about live music, environmental education booths, eco-friendly children’s activities and more at Earth Day Santa Cruz in San Lorenzo Park. This Earth Day main event will run from 11am to 4pm and include a Save Our Shores-led river cleanup, teen fashion show, not one but two bands and lots of hands-on environmental displays. Free bike valet will be available.

Or show the Earth you care that 71 percent of it is water and help clean up a beach. Save Our Shores is hosting 9 other beach cleanups this morning in addition to the San Lorenzo cleanup at the Earth Day celebration: 4 Mile Beach, Cowell Beach, Twin Lakes State Beach, Soquel Creek, Beer Can Beach, Elkhorn Slough at Triple M Ranch, Elkhorn Slough roadside and Del Monte Beach and Carmel Beach in Monterey County. Pre-register and find time and check-in locations at the Save Our Shores Earth Day page.

You can also celebrate by planning a bird- and butterfly-friendly garden, and then acting on it with a visit to the Spring Plant Sale anytime Saturday from 1pm to 4pm (10am to noon for members only) at the UCSC Arboretum Eucalyptus Grove. Plants on sale will include monkeyflower, lavender, manzanita and lots of other natives beloved by the birds and bees.

For those who want to celebrate Earth Day by, you know, treading the earth, there's always ye olde Wilder Ranch Coast Nature Walk on Saturday. This two-hour trek begins at 11am and spans the coastal trail of the State Park.

Finish Saturday with experimental films on the beach from 8pm to 10pm courtesy the Museum of Art and History. Light Waves Beach Theatre in the Northern Cave at Seabright State Beach (yup, this happens in a beach cave) will show environmentally conscious short films. The night will conclude with a lecture about our love for the ocean by Constance Hockaday, TED Fellow.

And then it's Sunday, and why stop celebrating now when there's a Big Basin hike at 10am? Docent Hal Anjo hosts this 6-mile hike up Mt. McAbee that features redwood and ocean views.

Finally, you can learn about how to conserve water using a graywater system at a free course called Laundry to Landscape: Greywater Harvesting at Quail Hollow Ranch. LeAnne Ravinale, water conservation coordinator at the Scotts Valley Water District, will discuss the tools needed for graywater use and how you can install the system on your property.

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