Band involved in Earth Day activities

Rainy River First Nations celebrated Earth Day on Monday, with many different activities—from tree-planting to learning about traditional healing—scheduled for the entire day.
“We had nine events taking place throughout the day—some [were] fairly simple for the younger grades,” said Stuart Clendenning, program officer with the Rainy River Watershed Program.
“We planned this for a month,” he noted. “It was a lot of work but it was a lot of fun.
“We had a wetlands interactive CD for the younger kids, and each student got to bring home a tree to plant thanks to Abitibi-Consolidated. They were very generous,” Clendenning added.
Abitibi had 200 red pines on hand.
“They were frozen all winter, now they’re ready to be popped in the ground,” said Abitibi employee Kathy Rea, adding Abitibi hands out 1,800 trees during Mall Days in Fort Frances, and also will give away trees to the Kiwanis and at the upcoming trade show in Atikokan.
The company also plants 4.5 million trees throughout the year.
There also were booths that highlighted traditional healing.
“The healing plant booth highlighted plants in the area used for healing,” Clendenning said. “It showed how the flora and fauna natural to the area is used for medicine.”
Meanwhile, students from Our Lady of the Way, Sturgeon Creek, and Onigaming schools took part in a contest for the paper grocery bags decorated best illustrating “Protect Our Home,” the Earth Day theme.
“Students also painted banners and made bird feeders out of recyclables,” said Rainy River Watershed Program co-ordinator Martin Nantel.
Prizes included hats, T-shirts, mugs, bird feeders, and flashlights.
There also was a dirty sock contest in which white tube socks were attached to a muffler. The dirtiest car won a free oil change.
The previous week, band members undertook a community cleanup.
“One day, our staff collected garbage—we collected over 30 bags,” said Nantel. “The next day, students took two hours to collect another 30 bags—a truckload.
“I was impressed.”
Earth Day is the largest environmental event in the world. It was launched in the United States in 1970 and now is celebrated in more than 100 countries as the birth of the environmental movement.
April is Earth Month, with celebrations culminating on April 22 (Earth Day).
More than six million Canadians were expected to take part in tree-planting events, community cleanups, and nature walks to celebrate the 32nd anniversary of Earth Day.