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Earth Day Celebration, ¡Pollinate! Pop-up Fair and Picnic

April 15, 2016

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On Earth Day, Friday, April 22, in downtown Questa, there will be a youth-centered Pollinator Celebration and pop-up education fair as well as a free picnic lunch and ribbon cutting ceremony unveiling large banner-murals by local students created to depict phenomenal pollinators. A “parade of the pollinators” will follow. Face-painting, “plant-a-seed” activities and DIY recycled crafts will round out this fun, family-friendly event celebrating our beautiful planet!

“We invite the whole community, especially local students and their families in celebrating the creativity of our kids and the importance of pollinators!,” says event co-coordinator, Joan Long.

The free picnic lunch will start at 12 noon; at 1:30 pm the ribbon cutting ceremony for the ¡Pollinate! Banners will take place; “parade of the pollinators” will follow; booths and educational activities will continue until 4 pm.

At event booths visitors can expect to: Explore Bees and Beekeeping, Smell-the-Flowers, Plant-a-Seed with expert gardeners, Do “Pollinator” face-painting, bubbles and hula-hoops, Discuss Localization – Northern NM Growers & Makers Exchange, Explore – Public lands and plants; Picnic – fabulous and free to all.

During February, March and April over 200 students from Alta Vista Elementary and Intermediate School, Costilla Southwest Learning Academy, Questa Junior-Senior High School as well as homeschooling families in the area have been busy painting five large ¡Pollinate! banners as well as flags and other artworks in workshops facilitated by LEAP (Land, Experience and Art of Place) project leaders. The background paintings on the banners were done by Questa High School students and then sent on for the elementary grades to paint in the foreground imagery. To accompany the art workshops, project leaders Claire Coté and Joan Long visited each classroom with a brief, grade-appropriate presentation about pollination, followed by a hands-on demonstration from visiting beekeeper, Jordan Stone.

Paraprofessional educational assistant and class art teacher, Mariquita Rael sees over 180 students in her art room every week and all of them participated in LEAP’s ¡Pollinate! enrichment project. Mrs. Rael reflects on her students’ experiences:

“When real life science can be integrated with the arts, students get a much deeper understanding of the concepts. Seeing their artwork on public display gives them a sense of pride. It is our hope that these Earth Day Celebrations will help them to become contributing citizens in taking care of our planet.”

The banners will be unveiled at the Earth Day Celebration and will then be installed at the five NCRTD blue bus stops in Questa and the surrounding communities of Lama, Cerro and Arroyo Hondo. In coordination with the Earth Day event, exhibits of pollination-inspired artworks by local students will also be on display at the Questa Public Library and Questa Village Offices.

sacramentoearthday_dana-gray“What better day to highlight the learning, inspiration and creativity of our future Earth Stewards, than on Earth Day!?” says event co-coordinator, Gaea McGahee.

The first Earth Day was celebrated 46 years ago on April 22, 1970. This holiday was created by U.S. Senator, Gaylord Nelson, to mark the importance of keeping our planet healthy and clean, and for people to renew their commitment to make positive changes in their community. Since that first Earth Day, more than 500 million people in over 180 countries have participated in Earth Day activities. The ¡Pollinate! Earth Day Celebration continues this tradition right here in Questa in 2016.

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“Last year’s Questa Earth Day event at OCHO Art + Event Space was so much fun and so well-attended that we decided to move it outdoors this year! ” says, Claire Coté, director of LEAP.

The location of this year’s Earth Day Celebration, the “Plazuela” at the main Questa intersection was improved by community volunteers in the fall of 2015 with guidance from the Frontier Communities program as well as support from the Questa Economic Development Fund and then further improved on April 15 in a Questa cleanup and beautification day. Parking for the event is at the nearby Questa Visitor Center.

“Pollinate: collaborate, create, celebrate” is the theme for Questa’s 2016 Event & Education series. Why? Pollination happens every year, all around us, impacts many parts of our lives and yet remains a mystery to many of us. Pollination is beautiful, complex and essential for the survival of plants, animals and humans. It enables plants to reproduce (think food!) and for bees, butterflies and other pollinators to survive. For us humans, the “cross-pollination” of ideas often prompts creativity, understanding and innovation. The ¡Pollinate! theme shines a spotlight on the global decline of pollinators, emphasizes local pollinators and the plants that help them thrive and is a call to action. Through art, science, ideas, stories and more, the events and programs are adding to our communities’ thoughts and gardens, and that is worth celebrating! We hope you can join us!

The “¡Pollinate!” Event & Education Series is collaboratively organized by LEAP, Village of Questa Tourism, OCHO, US Forest Service Questa Ranger District, BLM Taos Field Office and other partners with support from the Questa Chevron Mine and others. The event series highlights and celebrates local knowledge, creativity, talent, and the natural and cultural heritage of our area.

Contact: Claire Coté (LEAP) – emailforleap@gmail.com (575) 586-2362
What: Earth Day Celebration, ¡Pollinate! Pop-up Education Fair and Picnic”
Where: Village Plazuela at the Questa Intersection – parking at Questa Visitor Center
When: Friday, April 22nd 12noon – 4 pm
Who: Come one come all – everyone is welcome!
Cost: FREE

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