Sturgeons are cool and other lessons from Earth Day 2010

By Karen McColl

With climate change and a plethora of other environmental issues looming at the forefront of our minds these days, it’s nice to have an occasion to have fun and celebrate the earth for all its goodness.

What a better way to do this than to take part in annual Earth day festivities! Activities on Sunday organized by the North Columbia Environmental Society (NCES) and local businesses served to remind us to stay connected with the earth and to get excited about the arrival of spring.

After taking in a free earth day vinyasa yoga class at Taproot yoga centre, one merely had to skip over to Grizzly Plaza to enjoy several family-friendly activities organized by the NCES.

Seed planting, wooden sturgeon painting, birdfeeder making, mural painting, and a seed and book exchange kept young people busy and artful. Several volunteers and many Brownies and Sparks from the Girl Guides Association spread out on a litter pick up. Music provided by Blind Spot in the afternoon ensured a steady trickle of individuals and families stopping by Grizzly Plaza to enjoy the festivities and community atmosphere in the warm sunshine.

A salmon and sturgeon themed mural which was near completion at the end of the day will hang on the wall outside Castle Joe Books with the addition of some of the painted wooden sturgeon.  The rest of the 180 sturgeons will be put along the fence in Centennial Park near the river.

NCES Environmental coordinator Hailey Ross, chief organizer of the Grizzly Plaza activities, came up with the idea of using the sturgeon as the icon of the Earth Week 2010 Festivities.

“Sturgeons are cool,” said Ross explaining some of the littler known facts about sturgeon.  Sturgeons are the largest freshwater fish in Canada and can reach over six metres in length –similar to the length of a great white shark! At over six hundred kilograms, they certainly are cool, but what’s more is that they are also a species at risk, meaning that their populations have been threatened, due mostly to habitat loss.

Sturgeons are native to the Columbia River, and a sturgeon release involving local first nations groups took place on Friday morning, coinciding with Earth Week festivities.

The idea of the painted sturgeons is to create more awareness of what is in our rivers and to increase environmental stewardship and responsibility.

Check out the pictures below of this year’s Earth Day celebrations.

Yoga teacher Carmen Bell instructs the free Vinyasa yoga class honouring earth day at Taproot Yoga Centre Sunday morning. Karen McColl photo
Painting wooden Sturgeons was a popular activity Sunday. With wood donated by Home Hardware and Rona, NCES volunteer Aaron Chance. Karen McColl photo
Trash or treasure? Barb Little shows off an item that will find a new home in her garden. Karen McColl photo
Someone is concentrating on painting their sturgeon... Karen McColl photo
Tara Johnson was one of the many volunteers helping with this event. This is the seed planting activity. Karen McColl photo
Plans for the community garden, located at the United Church on 3rd Street and Mackenzie Avenue, were unveiled. Karen McColl photo
Christy Shaw and Mindy Skinner teach the knack of birdfeeder making from milk cartons. Karen McColl photo
This blank canvas was eventually transformed into an underwater oasis of salmon and sturgeon. The finished mural, designed by artist David Rooney, will be hung outside at Castle Joe Books. Karen McColl photo
Volunteer Nancy Geismar writes the names of the artists on the back of the painted sturgeon, as well as their personal nature pledges. Karen McColl photo
MLA Norm Macdonald adds the first bit of colour to the mural. Karen McColl photo
Plant a seed anyone? Tara Johnson makes it look inviting. Karen McColl photo
Revelstoke’s Sparks and Brownies came out in almost full force today to take part in the litter pick-up. Tim Hortons provided them with these t-shirts and a treat at the end of the day. Karen McColl photo
Organizers provide the volunteer litter picker-uppers with high-visibility vests. Karen McColl photo
Sturgeon painting is a serious task. Karen McColl photo
Tracey Hill and her two children, Aiden and Charley, helped clean-up along the Eastern Access. Karen McColl photo
It’s never too early to learn good habits! Karen McColl photo
The mural grows... Karen McColl photo
Brownies and Sparks of the Girl Guides of Canada spread out and cleaned-up near Track Street. Karen McColl photo
Getting the job done. Karen McColl photo
The mural grows a little more. Karen McColl photo
Krista Carnegie mans the seed and book exchange. Books and seeds were free for all. Karen McColl photo
This is a handful for the 180 sturgeons painted on Sunday. Karen McColl photo
Painting the rocks on the mural is back-breaking work but someone has to do it. Karen McColl photo
Blind Spot and their number one fan. Karen McColl photo
Blind Spot rocked the plaza Sunday afternoon. Karen McColl photo
Bicycles appeared to be the preferred method of transport Sunday. Very appropriate for Earth Day! Karen McColl photo
Nearing completion... the mural will be completed at Castle Joe Books by the end of June. Karen McColl photo