Last weekend while canyoneering with friends and talking about the ongoing opportunities to snowshoe, one friend emphatically declared that spring had started March 21, intimating that she was clearly done with winter activities and ready to move on to springtime endeavors.
I have to admit that I share those sentiments, even though I enjoyed this winter immensely. It’s great to commute by bike now and see all the people enjoying the warmer temperatures. I love how so many people in this town capitalize on all of the natural wonder in our backyard.
While I often speak of the benefits of connecting to nature, the international children and nature community has been abuzz in the past month because new research shutters any dispute about the myriad benefits of communing with nature. Apparently, somewhere, there had been some skepticism over that claim. I don’t think those skeptics live anywhere near here. Most of us in this part of the world treasure the abundance of natural resources that we live among, and the sheer number of events between now and early June demonstrates our passion for the natural world.
One event is Earth Day, which will take place at Rotary Park starting at noon April 21. For the 10th consecutive year, Durango Nature Studies is honored to host Durango’s Earth Day celebration. We do not do this alone, however. The city of Durango, Citizens Climate Lobby, Indivisible’s Environment Climate Committee and Climate Love Project join DNS as co-hosts.
With the theme, “Loving my planet a whole awful lot,” this free community event incorporates both service and celebration into the day. We’re kicking off the Earth Day celebration with a cleanup along the Animas River Trail, which we’ve deemed a “litter hunt,” recognizing the overlap with Easter. We’ve identified a section for ploggers (a new craze involving runners picking up litter), as well as zones for families with younger children and for teams of adults. If you plan to participate, bring gloves and grubby clothes.
The Pete Guiliani Band will kick off the party in the park with music starting at 1 p.m. There will be other environmental organizations engaging children in a variety of activities, including poster- and instrument-making in preparation for a parade to the library. We also have a lineup of speakers who have dedicated themselves to making a difference for the planet.
In addition, Four Corners River Sports will host Durango’s only kayak race on the Animas River. Registration will be available until 3 p.m., and then, kayakers will head for the launch point around 3:30 p.m. Around the same time, marchers will depart for the library, making their way back to Rotary Park, hopefully in time to cheer kayakers as they paddle by the park.
The other event that DNS is hosting will take place at 2 p.m. May 4 at the Durango Nature Center. It’s our 25th anniversary, and over this time, thousands of people have participated in DNS programs. We plan to celebrate our birthday with an open house.
The day will include tours, activities for the whole family and food and drink. Whether you’ve spent countless hours leading school groups, have sent your children to DNS camps every summer or have never stopped at this treasure off U.S. Highway 550, plan to join us to celebrate the role DNS has had in introducing students throughout the Four Corners to the natural world.
For more information about Earth Day and the 25th anniversary celebration, visit durangonaturestudies.org.
Stephanie Weber is executive director of Durango Nature Studies. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.