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Silver City's annual Earth Day celebration will be on Saturday, April 21, from 10 am to 2 pm, at Gough Park. More than 30 organizations and businesses will showcase their mission, services, or green products. The event will feature live entertainment throughout the day, as well as food and kids' activities.

"We're really excited to have some first-time presenters and activities," said organizer Doyne Wrealli, Program Associate at the Gila Resources Information Project (GRIP). "We'll have the Advocates for Snake Preservation (ASP), the Grant County Beekeepers, and the Mimbres Region Arts Council's Youth Mural Project, just to name a few. I think there will be a lot of surprises, from animals and fun kids' activities to creating art pieces. All the kids' activities are free, and there will be vendors offering free items as well."

The Southwestern New Mexico Audubon Society has received a grant from the National Audubon Society's Coleman and Susan Burke Foundation for Native Plants, and another from the Southwest New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce, to provide native, pollinator-friendly seeds and plants to the community for free. Mayor Ken Ladner has proclaimed that April 21st is "Bird, Butterfly, and Bee Friendly Day in Silver City" and he "encourages the residents of Silver City to attend the Earth Day festivities and obtain a free native plant that will support birds, butterflies and bees in our community."

"Other vendors will also be offering free seeds and wood chips to reduce the amount of water your plants need. All free items will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis, with one per household, and only while supplies last," said Wrealli.

The Town of Silver City's Recycling Advisory Committee will be offering free e-waste collection as part of the Earth Day celebration, as well as a large-scale document shredder, so documents containing private information can be quickly and securely readied for recycling. Both of these services will be set up in the parking lot just south of Gough Park. Vehicles should enter from 11th Street to drive through and drop off materials; there will be signs posted and volunteers directing traffic.

This year's national Earth Day theme, End Plastic Pollution, focuses on the global plastic problem and ways to address it. Plastics litter our landscape, clog waterways, and pollute our oceans, and growing evidence shows how they contribute to health problems in humans and animals.

"Plastic pollution is ubiquitous in our environment," said Wrealli. "Only 9% of plastic is currently recycled, and the rest breaks down over time, becoming what's called microplastics, and releasing toxins into the environment." Studies are finding microplastics and plastic fibers in tap water all over the world, and in approximately 90% of the name-brand single-use bottles of water that you purchase. "Plastic pollution is already a global environmental crisis. It's critical that we learn how to end plastic pollution before it becomes a global health crisis," said Wrealli. "We'll have a lot of information on the effects of plastic, and how you can reduce your dependence on plastic products."

Opportunities to get involved and for activism will be a big part of this year's Earth Day. Several booths will feature citizen scientists and volunteers taking direct action to protect our region's natural resources, as well as global environmental concerns. They'll explain what they've been doing, and how people can get involved. Attendees will also be able to register to vote at the park.

"Providing live music for the celebration will be the Circle of the Sun Community Choir, Moonshine, the Aldo Leopold Middle School Choir, and Amos Torres. The musicians will start at the top of each hour," said Wrealli. "Along with really useful information and education, it's going to be a fun and exciting day."

Silver City's 2018 Earth Day Celebration is coordinated by the Gila Resources Information Project and sponsored by the Town of Silver City Recycling Advisory Committee, Lone Mountain Natives, Binary Circuits, and Freeport-McMoRan.

For more information, go to www.gilaresources.info, or contact GRIP Program Associate Doyne Wrealli at earthendoyne@gmail.com or call 575-297-9734.

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