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How Nye County celebrated Mother Nature at the Earth & Arbor Day Festival — PHOTOS

Sustainable, renewable, energy-efficient, eco-friendly, recycled, reused.

These are just a few of the words associated with the movement to protect and preserve the earth in all its biodiverse glory and for the Pahrump Nuclear Waste and Environmental Advisory Committee, these concepts are something the group wants the entire community to know all about.

In an effort to spread the word about the many ways that humans can reduce their footprint and even positively impact their environment, the committee hosts a celebration each year to mark two nature-loving holidays, Earth Day and Arbor Day.

Taking place on Saturday, April 22, the 2023 Earth and Arbor Day Festival saw a steady stream of visitors throughout the four-hour event, with plenty of interaction between attendees and those manning booths from an array of businesses and organizations. From federal agencies such as U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge to local organizations such as the Friends of Discovery Park, Red Rock Audubon Society and Green Life Products, there were representatives from a total of 19 entities, all of whom were ready and able to educate the public on environmentally-friendly methods and practices.

“Things went well,” Pahrump Nuclear Waste and Environmental Advisory Committee Chair John Pawlak, who helped found the Earth Day festivities in Pahrump two decades ago, said after the event came to a close. Then with wry amusement, he added, “Mother Nature made fun of us being indoors with a picture-perfect outdoor venue day.”

This year was the first in which the Earth and Arbor Day Festival was held indoors, a decision that was made because previous years have seen unexpected weather events that have put a damper on the celebration. However, both Pawlak and nuclear waste committee co-chair Debby Woodland of Great Basin Water Co., agreed that the Bob Ruud Community Center was a good choice and one they might make in the future as well.

“Everything went great, it was such a beautiful day,” Woodland stated. “I thought the venue was perfect too! I was thanked by vendors, they loved it inside, they did not have to haul in tables, there was no wind or heat, it was very comfortable and attendees took advantage of being able to sit down in the center of the vendors’ rows.”

If the group does decide to host the event at the Bob Ruud Community Center once again next year, Woodland and Pawlak said they would like to book all three rooms in the building, rather than just the main room. “We were a bit tight in space between tables!” Woodland explained, with Pawlak adding, “We could expand and use the outside area in the future as well.”

Aside from the vendors themselves, the event included free food in the form of authentic Chicago-style hotdogs, free tree giveaways and other raffles prizes, along with demonstrations and interactive games. The nuclear waste committee also uses the Earth and Arbor Day Festival as an opportunity to spotlight someone in the community who is making a difference for the environment, with the 2023 Earth Day Citizen of the Year Award going to John Klenke.

“Donations for our precious ‘Chicago Style Hot Dogs’ came to $139. That may or may not have covered the cost of the ingredients of the copycat Orange Julius smoothies that our friends from our Indivisible Prickly Pears group blended up in the community center kitchen in preparation for raffling off three battery-powered camping/backpacking blenders. We gave out the three blenders as well as our GoSun backpack version of their solar cooker to lucky folks who attended our event,” Pawlak detailed.

“Thanks to Debby Woodland, co-presenter, we were able to pass our six-foot tall trees during the course of the afternoon as well as trees donated by Great Basin Water Co. and Cayenne Engel, urban and community forestry program coordinator at the Nevada Division of Forestry,” Pawlak continued. “We’d like to send a special thank you to all our presenters, Clean Up Pahrump, the Master Gardeners, the NyECC, Nevada Site Specific Advisory Board, and all that came out! For a complete list of presenters, please view the past issues of the PV Times to catch all the group names of the ad flyer. And thank you to my wife Patti for your help and inspiration. We were also happy that our committee’s liaison, Nye County Commissioner Ron Boskovich, was able to spend some time with us too.”

Pawlak said with an almost-perfect attendance of presenters, wonderful weather weather and new venue this year, the committee is anticipating that the 2024 event will be just as successful.

The Pahrump Nuclear Waste and Environmental Advisory Committee meets the first Friday of each month at 11:30 a.m. For future agendas and meeting locations or more information visit www.PahrumpNV.org

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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