Wolf educator Gary Allan, left, and his wolf Tundra, Michael Geselbracht, of the Mid-Island Community Development Co-op, and John Barsby Secondary School students Jeffrey Ng and Mik North are just a few of the volunteers, community group members, vendors and presenters helping to celebrate Nanaimo Earth Day festivities at John Barsby Secondary School on Saturday, April 27. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

Earth Day in Nanaimo celebrates the Earth and its inhabitants

Plant a tree, pet a wolf, and see grand opening of Georgia Greenway at Nanaimo Earth Day festival

Visitors to Nanaimo’s Earth Day 2019 celebrations will follow a course to the planet’s future along a new path.

Earth Day is today, April 22, but an Earth Day event happens at John Barsby Secondary School on Saturday, April 27, when the city officially opens the Georgia Greenway.

“Our opening ceremony will be actually the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Georgia Greenway project, which is a pedestrian, cyclist pathway that connects Georgia Avenue with the Harewood-John Barsby neighbourhood,” said Michael Geselbracht, of the Mid-Island Community Development Co-operative.

The Earth Day event runs 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The ribbon-cutting happens at 10:30 a.m. to kick off the day of activities, planned and organized by John Barsby students and staff and the Mid-Island Community Development Co-op.

“This year, the theme for Earth Day internationally is species at risk and we have run with this theme regarding particular species, but also ecosystems at risk,” Geselbracht said.

Workshops and presentations focusing on species at risk and other environmental issues in the region start at 11 a.m. and include a vocal jam, poetry recitation and a presentation on endangered bats, and children will be able to make reusable beeswax food wrappings to help cut down on single-use plastic wrap.

Gary Allan, wolf educator, will also be on site with his wolf Tundra, offering people a chance for a close encounter with her species as Allan shares his knowledge of her kind.

“There’s also going to be a gathering on the Chase River to learn about the Chase River and opportunities for people to engage in restoring the river for salmon,” Geselbracht said. “There’ll be a planting of up to 300 trees along the river to restore the riparian area that protects the river from too much sunlight. The riparian area protects the river from all sorts of things and provides habitat.”

This is the second year John Barsby is hosting Nanaimo’s Earth Day event, which drew about 1,300 people and 50 vendors last year.

Food trucks will serve up delectable dishes and there will be live musical entertainment in the school roundabout.

“What makes us so excited is that this is an all-inclusive event,” Geselbracht said. “It’s about learning. It’s about celebrating. It’s about connecting with the wider community. It’s about putting our hands to the land, doing work in the gardens area to produce food for the students and staff at John Barsby and also to restore part of the Chase River and just share this learning outwards so that we can look after our Nanaimo … and the world at large.”

Admission is by donation. To learn more, visit www.nanaimoearthday.com/.

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