In honor of Earth Day, Scappoose city officials welcome the public to show their appreciation for the rich, biodiverse land known as the "gateway to Columbia County."
The 2022 Scappoose Parks and Recreation Committee Earth Day Celebration commences at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 23 at Heritage Park in Scappoose.
Event attendees will pick up trash at Chapman Landing on the Crown Zellerbach Trail, followed by an 11 a.m. nature walk led by the Scappoose Bay Watershed Council.
Also at 11 a.m., the Scappoose Library will host free Earth Day activities for kids.
Beyond its proximity to the Columbia River, Scappoose offers a host of waterways and a suitable environment for waterfowl, salmon, red-legged frogs, and northwestern salamanders, according to the local Earth Day organizers.
History of Earth Day
Earth Day, held on April 22 each year, transcends geographic boundaries, uniting the globe in a shared mission of environmental activism.
Referred to as "the largest secular observance in the world," Earth Day is considered a day of action to "change human behavior and create global, national, and local policy changes," according to the earthday.org website.
Before Earth Day, industries had free reign to pump pollutants into the atmosphere without regard for consequences.
Then two major catalysts occurred: the 1962 publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, raising environmental concerns caused by human behaviors, and the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.
According to National Geographic magazine, Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson, with the help of Harvard graduate student Denis Hayes, organized the first Earth Day to educate students about the importance of environmental conservation.
Nelson announced the Earth Day concept at a conference in Seattle in the fall of 1969 and invited the entire nation to get involved, History.com reports. The response to the movement was overwhelming, according to his remarks:
“The wire services carried the story from coast to coast. The response was electric. It took off like gangbusters. Telegrams, letters, and telephone inquiries poured in from all across the country. The American people finally had a forum to express concern about what was happening to the land, rivers, lakes, and air—and they did so with spectacular exuberance.”
Today, the movement has gained a foothold in 192 countries and encompasses 1 billion people. Recognition of Earth Day also set environmentally-conscious legislation into motion, including the Clean Air and Water Act, the 1972 Endangered Species Act, and the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
A 'multifaceted benefit'
"Earth Day events provide a multifaceted benefit," said Isaac Butman, assistant to Scappoose City Manager Alexandra Rains. "Engaging with Earth Day can build a foundation of environmental stewardship, an appreciation for the natural world and the creatures and plants that inhabit it, and help create a more environmentally conscious community."
According to Butman, the Scappoose Earth Day Celebration began in 2019 and was a huge success, with "a turnout of around 100 people."
The city canceled the event in 2020 due to COVID-19.
"The City of Scappoose and the Scappoose Parks and Recreation Committee is excited to be able to present this event once again," Butman said.
The committee has a shared mission with Scappoose Adventure Fest, a September event "highlight(ing) the amazing parks system in Scappoose." Other aims of the Earth Day Celebration include "helping motivate people to enjoy the parks, tak(e) care of the environment, and appreciate the great outdoors."
In getting involved beyond Earth Day, Butman said the Scappoose Bay Watershed Council (SBWC) was the first organization that came to mind.
"SBWC works on projects that support a healthy watershed by protecting and restoring native fish, wildlife, and plants (and) encourages participation by the community by educating, restoring, and preserving our natural world," he said.
There are a variety of local groups doing environmental protection work, including Columbia Soil & Water Conservation District, Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership, the Port of Columbia County, Columbia County, and others, according to Butman.
To find a list of organizations engaging in environmental protection and rehabilitation along the Columbia River, visit columbiainsight.org.
April 18-23 Scavenger Hunt
The City of Scappoose will also be holding a scavenger hunt to encourage exploration of the city's seven parks.
Visit: https://forms.gle/CG4G2Tk9DQyEmvJq9 to complete the Scavenger Hunt in the spirit of Earth Day.
Scavenger Hunt participants are asked to submit their completed form to email@example.com no later than 5 p.m. April 23 to be entered into a drawing for prizes.
For more information, visit facebook.com/CityofScappoose. See a special section Reduce Reuse Recycle in the April 20 print edition of The Chronicle.