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Pahrump celebrates Earth and Arbor Day

With bright morning sunlight shining down and winds gusting through the valley, it seemed as if the ever-capricious Mother Nature herself was in attendance at this year’s Earth and Arbor Day celebration, doing her best to try the patience and persistence of event volunteers intent on spreading the message of environmental awareness, but they were not to be daunted.

Despite the challenge presented in the form of strong breezes, the volunteers persevered and over the course of the three-hour event, held Saturday, April 24 at Ian Deutch Memorial Park, they managed to hand out a total of 200 goodie bags. From attendees who came by for the “Grab-and-Go” style event, to families enjoying the sporting fields that morning, residents from all around the valley were able to head home on Saturday with an abundance of items and informational materials meant to inspire an environmentally-friendly attitude and an awareness of the importance of preserving the earth in all its glory.

“We were so very happy with our volunteers who turned out for bag stuffing and during the Earth Day and Arbor Day event,” John Pawlak, chair of one of the co-sponsoring organizations, the Pahrump Nuclear Waste and Environmental Advisory Committee, told the Pahrump Valley Times. “We had a great response early on in the event that day, with folks stopping by for the ‘Grab-and-Go’ event, but there may have been an issue with the rather high winds that kept some folks home later in the three-hour event. We did take matters into our own hands and headed down to the ball fields at the park to share our bags on environmental goodies with the Little League kids and their parents in the stands. And they loved it!”

Debby Woodland, water conservation coordinator at the other co-sponsoring organization for the event, Great Basin Water Company, was obviously happy with the outcome of the Earth and Arbor Day celebration as well, remarking, “Saturday, April 24 to me was an opportunity for face-to-face connections with the community and to have the privilege to hand out a plethora of conservation materials and earth-friendly gifts.”

And when Woodland says a “plethora” she is in no way exaggerating, with dozens of items and informational leaflets included in the goodie bags given away that morning. There were two reusable shopping bags, one stuffed inside the other, both containing a wide array of products, such as pencils, crayons, pens, a frisbee, a vegetable scrubber, a cutting board, two toothbrushes made from eco-friendly materials, a cardboard straw which is much easier on the environment than the plastic alternative and a notebook constructed of recycled materials.

Also included in the goodie bags were “Smoke-free air” stickers, Shasta Daisy seeds, as well as seeds to grow mondell pine trees, magnets, a refrigerator thermometer, a four-outlet power strip and a flow gauge kit complete with leak detecting dye tablets. Rounding out the bags were the educational materials such as pamphlets on “gleaning”, responsible water use, the dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping, identifying invasive weed and the overdose rescue drug Naloxone. Papers detailing “13 Ways to Save Money on Your Electric Bill” and proper recycling practices were included, as was information on the many prevention and wellness programs available through the NyE Communities Coalition. A “Water Wise Kids” booklet was part of the goodie bags too, along with booklets on “Becoming a Desert Gardener” and the “Southern Nevada Guide: Tree Selection and Care.” Last but not least, there was also a copy of the magazine “Seasoned” handed out with each of the goodie bags distributed that afternoon and even a few advertisements for upcoming local events.

The Southern Nye County 4-H program also provided a fun item for the younger attendees of the Earth and Arbor Day celebration to take home and enjoy, a kit for building a solar-powered car, complete with all the pieces needed to construct the toy so youngsters would have the opportunity to observe as it harnesses the power of the sun.

“During these challenging times I hope those recipients take the time to reflect and make simple adjustments in their busy lives to reduce, reuse and recycle, actions that in our everyday lives can have a major impact on the planet,” Woodland concluded.

Helping make this year’s event a success were many area businesses and organizations, including the Southern Nye County Conservation District, Nye County Water District, Pahrump Valley Disposal and Joe’s Sanitation, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and its Master Gardeners and 4-H programs, Clean Up Pahrump, the NyE Communities Coalition, Valley Electric, the Red Rock Audubon Society, Friends of Discovery Park, the Nye County Sheriff’s Auxiliary and the town of Pahrump Buildings and Grounds team.

“There may have been more, but pardon us if we forgot to mention your great help!” Pawlak stated, adding, “We’d like to thank all the members that made up our committee that put this event on once again and especially our ‘Environmental Person of the Year’ for 2021, Heather Freeman at the Nye County cooperative extension, for all her hard and unselfish work she’d provided throughout the year. Our town’s advisory committee strives to acknowledge the good deeds of civic leaders like Heather in the environmental field here. Individuals like Heather make a significant difference by their actions and in their leadership to our fellow residents here in Pahrump. Thus, we choose to acknowledge that endearing trait.”

As for what the future holds for the local Earth and Arbor Day celebrations, Pawlak said the committee is hopeful that next year, things can return to normal and everyone will be able to gather together for a more traditional festival, with vendor booths, activities and of course, the ever-popular free Chicago-style hotdogs. “We always love to share ways to make our lives easier and more environmentally wholesome,” Pawlak said. “We’d like to put this pandemic behind us and be in a better place next year!”

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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