Vermillion’s week-long celebration of sustainability and the earth will take place Saturday, April 20 through Saturday, April 27, and this year, new and improved events will add even more variety to the offerings.
“We have multiple new events this year, which is exciting,” said Meghan Jarchow, a USD sustainability professor and head of the Earth Days sponsoring organization, Greening Vermillion. “The Sustainability Club is sponsoring the Earth Days Gala, which will be a free, formal event where people can come together to celebrate sustainability in a different environment. Our celebration on Thursday of Earth Days will also be different this year. In the past we had Green Thursday on the Platz, which was a kick-off of the Thursday on the Platz events. We will have an event on the Platz again this year, but we are calling it Green Day on the Platz, and it is being organized by the Vermillion Area Farmers Market. The event will include dancing, live music, kids crafts, and local food. The event will also have a litter pick up as part of the event.”
As usual, this year’s Earth Days event features many collaborations between area organizations during the week-long celebration.
“Earth Days always brings together dozens of organizations,” said Jarchow,” But this year, I think we are doing an especially good job. For example, we are partnering with Vermillion Public Transit for many events over the week, and we have made it so that Earth Days coincides with Vermillion Public Transit Week. VPT is providing free transportation to multiple events over the week.”
Highlights of this year’s celebration include a keynote speaker on Monday, April 22, who comes with a twist.
“One event that I am excited for is the keynote performance by Winona LaDuke and Annie Humphrey,” said Jarchow. “Most years, we have had an Earth Days keynote lecture, but this year it will be a lecture by LaDuke with original music by Humphrey. In general, I am excited when Earth Days can bring people from multiple fields together – for example, bringing in art to the keynote lecture!”
LaDuke, who was Ralph Nader’s running mate, is a Native American activist and an advocate for environmental, women's, and children's rights. Humphrey was named the 2018 Artist of the Year by the Native American Music Awards. LaDuke will deliver a lecture titled, "Building a Green Economy: Indigenous Strategies for a Sustainable Future," and original music from Humphrey will be integrated into the event.
This year’s re-imagined “Green Day on the Platz” on Thursday, April 25, will offer “something for everyone.” All are welcome to enjoy homegrown goodies made by local farmers, kids crafts, clog dancing, plogging (a litter pick-up event), samples from Hy-Vee and R-Pizza pizza with toppings from local, seasonal ingredients that will be sold for just $1 per slice. Fiddler Ingrid Lane will entertain during the event while USD gallery artists create a live chalk art piece at the Platz.
Another fun event will be a night sky hike at Spirit Mound, to be held Friday, April 26.
“Spirit Mound is such a beautiful natural resource that we have around Vermillion – and it is a beautiful place to view stars and the night sky,” said Jarchow. “We will have a night sky hike at Spirit Mound on Friday starting at 8:30 p.m., and that is one of the events where VPT is providing free transportation out to Spirit Mound.”
Also new to Earth Days this year is the Tour of Green Homes, to be held Saturday, April 27. The event will transport participants on a bus tour of local “green” homes that save energy, re-use materials, save water, and use other sustainable materials and practices in home building and remodeling.
“On the tour, we'll stop in to talk with several homeowners and see for ourselves how they have built green into their homes,” said organizer Jim Wilson. “With others, we'll see green on the outside of their homes from the bus.”
Examples of green features include a "cooling widow's walk," passive geo-solar heating and cooling, solar panels, decks made of recycled plastic bags, geothermal heating and cooling, and more.
Snacks and beverages, including wine, beer, and hard cider, will be served midway at the home of tour guide Wilson.
Space is limited for this tour. Contact Jim Wilson at 605-920-6247 to reserve a seat for $5. But hurry! Reservations must be made by April 20.
Jarchow hopes that many will participate in Earth Days this year.
“Earth Days is fun!” she said. “Earth Days is an opportunity for people to come together to celebrate our environment, to make connections with like-minded folks, and to contribute to making Vermillion a little bit better.”
For more information and to see a full list of activities happening during Earth Days, visit www.greeningvermillion.org.