Big Weekend: Celebrate Blossom Festival, Earth Day

Earth Day’s traditional high-profile event in Hood River, Procession of the Species, is in hiatus this year, but plenty of other activities are offered on and around the April 22 observance. (For a full list, see our guide to Blossom Festival and Earth Day events, inserted in this edition.)

It’s a happy union, that of Blossom Festival and Earth Day in Hood River County. In this community, they occur together every year, and go together in spirit, as community members unite to celebrate the beauty of this place we call home.

Earth Day events go beyond park cleanups. The recently merged GO! Network and Columbia Gorge Earth Center take the opportunity this weekend to educate the community on environmental issues, and to celebrate some of those in the community who work for sustainability. The third-annual Tod LeFevre Sustainability Award will also be awarded to a person or group “working on innovative, creative solutions to the environmental, economic and social issues facing the Gorge.”

In addition, Gorge Ecumenical Ministries hosts an “Earth Day and Night” potluck, film and discussion on climate change.

Between Blossom and Earth Day events, there is much for members of the community to take part in, or to ponder.

As the world grapples with the dynamics of climate change and issues such as coal transport and other resource-based concerns in the Gorge or farther afield, it can feel like the average person has no impact. That is not the case, as an event on Monday will demonstrate.

Profiled on A1, “Every Day is Earth Day: School Garden Symposium” is a joint effort of Hood River Middle School, AmeriCorps and Gorge Grown Food Network. It will help students from around the Gorge learn about gardening, solar energy, care of the soil and other topics, tied together via STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — education.

As evidenced by highly effective garden programs at HRMS and Mosier Community School, when children are introduced to these practices in the right way, they take them to heart, and pass them along. Programs such as these teach academically critical skills in ways that are hands-on — indeed, hands-dirty.

Along with the Gorge Owned events over the weekend, there will be plenty to engage children, and adults, raising all our awareness of the way we are connected to our earth.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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