Newcastle celebrates Earth Day April 19
April 3, 2014
By Christina Corrales-Toy
If you happen to catch a knight in shining armor meandering across the Lake Boren Park lawn April 19, don’t be alarmed, it’s just one of the newest attractions at the city’s sixth annual Earth Day celebration.
The medieval flare comes courtesy of the Knights of Veritas, a group of performers that call upon the code of chivalry and the values of knighthood to educate audiences.
“In our case, they’ll be teaching the importance of environmental chivalry,” event Chairwoman Grace Stiller said.
The city of Newcastle and the Newcastle Weed Warriors will provide speakers, seminars and activities for Earth Day 2014 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 19 at Lake Boren Park.
This year’s theme is “Living in harmony with nature,” a nod to the fact that humans aren’t the only ones that call Newcastle home, Stiller said.
“That doesn’t mean that we go out and live in a tent or hug a tree, necessarily, but we provide for the wildlife in such a way that we harmonize with them,” she said.
Residents are encouraged to learn how to make their yards wildlife-friendly at the event, in a citywide effort to earn National Wildlife Federation Community Wildlife Habitat Certification.
To obtain the certification, residents must commit to providing food, water, cover and a place for wildlife to raise their offspring. A healthy habitat can be in a variety of places, including a backyard, a local city space or even an apartment balcony.
Representatives from the National Wildlife Federation will be available to register residents’ yards as a backyard wildlife habitat at the event. Children are also invited to take photos with the organization’s mascot, Ranger Rick.
“It’s just a statement that you’re aware there is a need in our growing population to provide these basic elements to help wildlife thrive,” Stiller said.
If you go
The event, as always, is free and open to the public, but this year, organizers are asking attendees to bring donations of used clothes and shoes.
“This is an opportunity for everybody to recycle and know that they’re reducing their waste by it being used by somebody else,” Stiller said.
The Hazen High School jazz band and the Boeing Employees’ Concert Band return to provide live entertainment. Many of the popular attractions from last year, such as the amphibian-toting frog lady and the live raptor house featuring birds of prey, will also return.
Puget Sound Energy, one of the event sponsors, will offer free energy-saving light bulbs, and 100 attendees will receive free native trees to plant in their yards courtesy of the National Wildlife Federation.
In addition to the Lake Boren Park festivities, HomeStreet Bank is simultaneously hosting a community shred-a-thon from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its Newcastle branch, 6949 Coal Creek Parkway S.E.
Residents can bring their sensitive documents for safe disposal in an event made possible by the bank, city and local real estate agent Brenda Nunes. The Boy Scouts of Troop 499 will be available to assist people with large reams of paper.
“Earth Day is about celebrating what we already have,” Stiller said. “We have wonderful trails, nice parks and a savvy community that really thinks about what’s happening with the planet, but it’s also to learn more about how we can even be more sustainable.”