Ashland band King Roy Wing headlines at annual Earth Day celebration. [kingroywing.com]

Rogue Valley celebrates Earth Day

The Rogue Valley joins communities around the globe to celebrate Earth Day, with festivities planned from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 22, on the grounds of ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum, 1500 E. Main St., Ashland.

Admission to the outdoor festival is free; admission to the museum will be reduced to $2 the day of the festival.

The theme of this year's festival is "Now More Than Ever" — a call for the community to embrace actions that make every day Earth Day.

"Now more than ever, everyone needs to take meaningful actions that conserve resources, create positive change and protect our planet," says event manager Paige Prewett.

Southern Oregonians can find information about clean energy, public lands, food, farms, water conservation, restoration projects, solar-energy programs, volunteer opportunities and more at the event.

"This celebration not only creates awareness, it also inspires stewardship," Prewett says. "Families return year after year for the fun activities and lively entertainment, and go home with tons of tools and ideas," Prewett says.

New this year, Talent Maker City, a local nonprofit that is Southern Oregon's hub for creativity and innovation, will host a variety of "up-cycling" demonstrations under a 40-foot-by-20-foot tent.

Eco-friendly crafts for all ages include turning cast-off wine corks into keychains, making drink coasters from scrap wood and maps, upgrading used jars into candle holders and planting seed starts in egg cartons. A large version of a classic game, Earth Day Giant Jenga, uses wood salvaged from a local manufacturer and is designed to teach facts about Earth Day.

The value of science is a highlight at this year’s celebration.

During Scientists Speak Up!, local scientists will take the stage for a few minutes at 11:45 a.m., joining a global community to advocate for the vital role science plays in health, safety, economies and governments.

At noon, educators from ScienceWorks Museum will present a ScienceLive show, “Science is Cool,” filled with demonstrations, discoveries and audience participation about states of matter.

At 12:30 p.m., the North Medford High School high-altitude balloon team will demonstrate a NASA-developed payload system that will stream live video from 90,000 feet during the total solar eclipse of the sun this August.

Earth Day also features live entertainment.

"We’re excited to host a variety of high-energy acts this year, ranging from marimbas to martial arts, and hip-hop dance to homegrown folk music," Prewett says.

The entertainment lineup kicks off at 11 a.m. with Sonic Kaleidoscope, a regional youth troupe that plays marimba rhythms inspired by Zimbabwe traditions.

At 12:45 p.m., Zahara Solomon of Shitivi Dance Company and her students will perform tribal belly dance.

At 1:15 p.m., Ashland Dance Works will perform hip-hop, ballet and contemporary routines choreographed by instructor Aisha Wand.

At 1:45 p.m., Ashland Capoeira Rumizumbi, led by instructor Andres Marquez, will demonstrate a martial arts form that brings together physical interaction, playfulness, community structure and creativity.

At 2:15 p.m., T-Poe Varnado, aka The Rogue Poet, will perform environmental pieces in spoken word and rhyme — including “The Family of Man,” about humanity and an environment that supports all people. He will be accompanied by poet Liesl Garner.

At 3 p.m., Ashland group King Roy Wing — M. Henry on guitar and harmonica, Jenika Smith on upright bass, Gaur Groover on mandolin and Dobro, and Hanna Winters on violin and percussion — will perform original Americana-style folk and three-part harmonies. Look for the band's interview and live show at 3 p.m. Monday, April 24, on Jefferson Public Radio.

Rhythm Soul Drumming shares an array of percussion instruments for all ages to thump, shake and rattle, guiding friends and strangers in making spontaneous music together in a giant geodesic dome.

Throughout the day, the Pacifica Caterpillar mobile science learning center has activities about weather and the solar system, and visitors engage in hands-on activities with the EcoQuest tour of exhibits.

Also, step inside a 30 foot-long salmon storytelling tent, hosted by Medford District Bureau of Land Management Environmental Education programs, to discover ways to protect riparian areas and support healthy waterways.

Visitors also can dress in a wildlife costume and join an animal parade that circulates throughout the event.

Other event favorites this year are Willow-Witt Ranch goat kids and Boys & Girls Club of Talent field games. Talk About Trees Paper Making and FullMoon HulaHoops round out the offerings.

Local food trucks will be at the site with food and beverages, including Peruvian Point, Little Shop of Bagels, Katrina’s Tamales and AuntieMama Cookies. Standing Stone Brewing Co. will have craft beers on tap.

Visitors are encouraged to carpool, bike, or ride the Rogue Valley Transportation District Route 10 bus from Medford, Phoenix, Talent and Ashland to the Earth Day celebration in Ashland. They are also asked to bring reusable beverage containers.

The festival aims to be a zero-waste event, with demonstrations on how to achieve that goal.

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