Ask Eartha: Take Earth Day to a new level by volunteering
Dear Eartha, I’m running out of time to decide what to do for Earth Day! Do you have any ideas?
Not to worry! Earth Day is only a few days away, and now is a great time to start thinking about what you want to do to give back to the environment and the place we call home. Maybe you already have a ritual: planting wildflowers in your garden, cleaning up garbage exposed by the snowmelt or taking the bus instead of driving to work.
These are all great ways to help! This year, can you take your efforts to the next level by adding another rewarding concept to your routine? Volunteering! Fortunately, Summit County has lots of great opportunities to volunteer for programs that not only benefit the environment, but also benefit our community. Keep reading to learn about some fun summer opportunities.
What makes food sustainable? It’s all about how it’s produced, packaged, distributed and consumed. For example, a nonorganic apple grown in Washington and packaged in a plastic bag is going to have a larger environmental impact than a loose (not packaged), organic apple grown in Colorado.
The Summit Community Supported Agriculture program offers fresh, nutrient-rich, locally grown produce to residents, creating a sustainable food system in the High Country. Satisfy your volunteer itch by helping to “raise the roof” on the community supported agriculture greenhouses by the Frisco Transit Center Saturday, April 30, and feel good knowing you’re contributing to a healthier community.
The Grow to Share program provides local produce, nutritional education and hands-on gardening experiences to qualified families in Summit County. This is made possible thanks to partnerships between High Country Conservation Center; Summit County Women, Infants and Children; and the Family and Intercultural Resource Center. Volunteers are needed for harvesting help on Monday mornings, July to October.
Recycling reduces the need to mine for new resources, which conserves forests, water and minerals. As a result, each ton of materials recycled saves nearly 3 tons of carbon emissions. You can get in on the action by helping at a couple of events designed to keep recyclable materials out of the landfill.
Summit County’s Food Scrap Program allows residents to easily recycle their food waste for free. In the spring, enrollees are invited to collect complimentary High Country Compost at three locations throughout the county. The Compost Giveaway is on May 20 and volunteers are needed to help residents shovel compost into a bin or bag.
Want to help Summit County residents recycle more? The Annual Hard to Recycle Event on May 21 will give folks the opportunity to easily get rid of their hard-to-recycle items for proper disposal and recycling. Volunteers are needed to help direct traffic and unload cars, and will be rewarded with breakfast burritos.
Zero-waste events are not only fun, but they also collect and recycle waste that would normally end up in the landfill. In 2019, the Frisco BBQ Challenge produced 21,620 pounds of waste, but because of the conservation center’s stellar volunteers, over 10,000 pounds of that waste was recycled properly.
Dive into summer’s first big zero-waste event with (surprise!) the Frisco BBQ Challenge, June 17 and 18. Volunteers are needed to help attendees sort waste at zero-waste stations. Volunteers will receive a T-shirt and 10 food and drink tickets know as Hogbacks.
Get your groove on at Keystone Bluegrass & Beer on Aug. 6 and 7, another great zero-waste event! Volunteer for positions like will-call attendant, brewery assistance, zero-waste tent attendant and more. Volunteers will get a T-shirt, a discount to one day of the festival, and one drink or two food tickets.
Sign up to volunteer for these opportunities at HighCountryConservation.org/volunteer-hc3.
Looking for other ways to help? The Summit Foundation has all sorts of ways you can get involved in your community and help protect the environment. You might also consider reading through Summit County’s recycling guidelines to make sure you’re recycling right. And join the free Food Scrap Program to add food waste to the list of materials you recycle at home. Helping the earth goes beyond recycling and sourcing food sustainably, so check out HighCountryConservation.org for more ideas on ways to get involved on Earth Day and beyond.
“Ask Eartha Steward” is written by the staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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