Last weekend while canyoneering with friends and talking about the ongoing opportunities to snowshoe, one friend emphatically declared that spring had started on March 21, intimating that she was clearly done with winter activities and ready to move on to springtime endeavors. I have to admit that I share those sentiments even though I enjoyed this winter immensely. It’s great to commute by bike now and see all the people enjoying the warmer temperatures. I love how so many people in this town capitalize on all of the natural wonder in our backyard.
While I often speak of the benefits of connecting to nature, the international children and nature community has been abuzz in the past month because new research shutters any dispute about the myriad of benefits of communing with nature. Apparently, somewhere, there had been some skepticism over that claim. I don’t think those skeptics live anywhere near here. Most of us in this part of the world treasure the abundance of natural resources that we live amidst, and the sheer number of events between now and early June demonstrates our passion for the natural world.
One event is Earth Day which takes place at Rotary Park starting at noon on Sunday, April 21st. For the 10th consecutive year, Durango Nature Studies (DNS) is honored to host Durango’s Earth Day celebration. We do not do this alone, however. The City of Durango, Citizens Climate Lobby, Indivisible’s Environment Climate Committee, and Climate Love Project join DNS as co-hosts.
With the theme, “Loving my planet a whole awful lot,” this free community event incorporates both service and celebration into the day. We’re kicking off the Earth Day celebration with a clean-up along the Animas River Trail, that we’ve deemed a “litter hunt,” recognizing the overlap with Easter. We’ve identified a section for ploggers (a new craze involving runners picking up litter), as well as zones for families with younger children and for teams of adults. If you plan to participate, bring gloves and grubby clothes.
The Pete Guiliani Band kicks off the party in the park with music starting at 1:00pm. There will be other environmental organizations engaging children in a variety of activities, including poster and instrument-making in preparation for a parade to the library. We also have a line-up of speakers who have dedicated themselves to making a difference for the planet.
In addition, Four Corners River Sports is hosting Durango’s ONLY kayak race on the Animas River. Registration will be available until 3:00 or so, and then, kayakers will head for the launch point around 3:30. Around the same time, marchers will depart for the library, making their way back to Rotary Park hopefully in time to cheer kayakers as they paddle by the park.
The other event that DNS is hosting takes place on Saturday, May 4th, starting at 2:00pm, at the Durango Nature Center. It’s our 25th Anniversary, and over this time, thousands of people have participated in DNS programs. We plan to celebrate our birthday with an open house. The day will include tours, activities for the whole family, and food and drink. Whether you’ve spent countless hours leading school groups, have sent your child(ren) to DNS camps every summer or have never stopped at this treasure off Highway 550, plan to join us and celebrate the role DNS has had in introducing students throughout the Four Corners to the natural world.