BIKE RODEO Fourth-graders line up for a Bicycle Rodeo to navigate a skills course with obstacles to learn safety and bike-handling skills. (Courtesy Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition)

Earth Day dates back to April 22, 1970 when Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson proposed a nationwide environmental “teach-in” to bring awareness to the threats that unbridled development held for the limited resources of the planet.

More than 50 years later, the need for environmental education has become secondary to the imperative for environmental action. Climate Action Healdsburg, a local citizens’ group of volunteers that grew out of Healdsburg 2040, takes that responsibility seriously and is organizing a focused environmental fair, called Climate Fest, to be held at the Healdsburg Plaza on April 22, from 1–4pm.

For early risers, the event can begin at 8am with Rise and Shine Yoga upstairs at Little Saint, where Shannon Donovan will lead a vinyasa class. A $10 admission for this morning program will be donated to Climate Action Healdsburg.

EARTH MUSIC The Fitch Mountaineers, shown here on the Rialroad Bridge in Healdsburg, will play at the Climate Fest on Earth Day, April 22 at the Plaza. (Courtesy Fitch Mountaineers)

As the 1pm start time approaches, local musician and city council member Chris Herrod will play some of his original songs from the gazebo stage. “I’ve temporarily put aside my musical pursuits to focus on my Council duties,” he said. “The Climate Fest will probably be my only performance of the year. I’m looking forward to it!”

At 1pm, Erica Gutierrez from Corazon and Ty Benoit from Climate Action Healdsburg will welcome the attendees and give brief comments. Mayor Ariel Kelley and others from the City of Healdsburg, as well as major sponsors including Clint McKay, the Pomo leader from the Dry Creek Rancheria, will have their moment on stage.

Kelley and others will orient attendees to the special events of the day, including a Bicycle Rodeo put on by the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition, a City of Healdsburg-sponsored drawing for an electric bike and free bicycle helmets for kids donated by Mill District Velo.

Earth Day cookies and snacks, an electric vehicle show, and many interactive and informational activities from participants continue through the afternoon. More than 50 booths will be set up to represent the many local and regional donors and partners of the event, including Recology, Land Paths, Indivisible Healdsburg, Pepperwood Preserve, Preston Farms, Jackson Family Wines, Healdsburg Fire, Sonoma County Master Gardeners, Sonoma County Library, Healdsburg Unified School District and many others.

At 2pm, an Earth Protectors Parade will meet at the northwest corner of the Plaza for everyone who wishes to dress up as the earth, wind, fire, water, plants and animals. 

Other expected speakers include Assemblyman Jim Wood and representatives from North Bay Jobs with Justice, service organizations such as Rotary and Kiwanis, and others.

Starting at 3pm, the Fitch Mountaineers will entertain from the gazebo while attendees continue to visit the sponsors’ and participants’ booths. The five local musicians started playing bluegrass and Americana songs about nine years ago, having begun at Speed of Sound Music in town, but it’s their first time playing for an audience from the gazebo stage.

Speaking in public comment at Monday’s City Council meeting, Climate Network Healdsburg’s Bridgette Mansell—herself a former councilmember—said the Climate Fest is an educational project. “Changes in behavior and changing habits to benefit the Earth is really the focus of Earth Day,” she said.

On April 22, all Sonoma County Transit routes will operate fare-free, providing transportation to Earth Day events at the Healdsburg Plaza (route 60) and in downtown Santa Rosa as well (routes 20, 30, 44/48, 60).

Previous articleSpring Is Busting Out All Over
Next articleSoftball Girls Turn It Around


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here