May ‘Earth Day’ coincides with Beetle Kill Festival |

May ‘Earth Day’ coincides with Beetle Kill Festival

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News
Grand County CO Colorado

Although the official Earth Day celebrated across the globe has come and gone, some people in Grand County are making sure the event doesn’t go unnoticed.

“The only reason we haven’t had (an Earth Day celebration) here before is because of the traditional date of April 22, when the weather is unpredictable,” said Granby Earth Day organizer Teresa Hill of Granby.

“So we figured, let’s go with what the earth is telling us, which is wait a month.”

An Earth Day/ Beetle-Kill Festival – planned for 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 22 at Granby’s Polhamus Park – includes an ambitious line-up of bands (see box) and Granby Earth Day additives, such as local produce, recycling opportunities, guest speakers, a “green business” expo, a beer garden and food vendors, with the goal of being a “zero waste” public event.

“All disposable waste from the festival will be either recyclable or made of compostable plant starch,” Hill said.

Festival-goers will be treated to information on solutions for the beetle-kill problem and for the environment, such as education on Waldow Trucking’s diesel conversion, the Forest Service’s pine beetle mitigation, area curb-side recycling, and local businesses that sell pine beetle products.

And residents countywide can take part in a major recycling drive, with the four recycling haulers in the county donating their services, Hill said. Free drop-off locations will be located throughout the day at every community in the county.

Beetle-kill festival

At the beginning of each year at the East Grand Middle School, eighth-graders in teacher Abby Loberg’s class embark on a project designed to make the community better.

One year eighth-graders made the case for public transportation throughout Grand County, another year the class enlisted town leaders to get interested in a Granby recreation center.

And last year, eighth grade students advocated the return of a Grand County youth mentoring program which, as Loberg reported, is close to coming to fruition through county agencies.

But this year, Loberg said, will be the first time the eighth grade project will “come to fruition during the school year and (students) will be able to see the results.”

Eighth graders this time around are focusing their attentions on recovery from the mountain pine beetle epidemic.

As part of the project, students have been working with the Colorado State Forest Service to create an opportunity to plant sapling trees on May 27 at the Snow Mountain Ranch, YMCA of the Rockies.

And on May 22, student plans for a “Most Excellent Pine Beetle Adventure” will come alive, with a festival of activities geared to benefit the Headwaters Trails Alliance in Grand County.

The student-organized public event is combining with a first-ever Granby Earth Day festival held in Polhamus Park, Granby.

“I like that it’s what the kids want,” said eighth grader Cody Charland, who is in charge of technical support for the project.

Students were asked what they wanted to do that would help their community, he said, and this year with the pine beetle event, several of his classmates’ ideas are being incorporated, such as creating a dog agility course in the community and a free movie for the community at the soccer dome – two activities offered as part of the festival.

There will also be hot dogs, a skate competition, flag football, food recipes based on the theme “mountain pine beetle,” a melodrama, a pine beetle costume contest and in the “Kids Corner”: face painting, a beanbag contest, wet sponge throw, balloon toss and fishing game.

At sundown at the East Grand Middle School parking lot, students – with the help of Grand Fire Protection District firefighters – plan to burn three pine-beetle trees.

“We will sell Chinese take-out boxes to be hung on the trees,” students told Granby Town Board members during a recent presentation about their project. “People can put things that they would want to burn in the ceremony in the boxes and we will hang them on the trees. It is to celebrate the fact that the forest will come back if there were to be a major forest fire.”

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