Corvallis Earth Day events encourage more learning, celebration of ‘society and planet’

About+16+miles+outside+of+Corvallis%2C+Ore.+lies+the+Thyme+Garden+Herb+Company.+As+of+now%2C+the+garden+is+temporarily+closed+for+the+winter%2C+but+after+preparing+for+the+new+season%2C+the+Thyme+Garden+will+reopen+on+April+15+in+time+for+Earth+Day+events.

Olivia Metclaf, Photographer

About 16 miles outside of Corvallis, Ore. lies the Thyme Garden Herb Company. As of now, the garden is temporarily closed for the winter, but after preparing for the new season, the Thyme Garden will reopen on April 15 in time for Earth Day events.

Ashton McCracken, News Contributor

The Thyme Garden and the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition will host events to recognize and celebrate Earth Day this year in Corvallis, Ore.
Earth Day, which takes place on April 22, is an annual event first initiated by EARTHDAY.ORG. According to EARTHDAY.ORG, the event aims to “diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide.” This year’s Earth Day theme is “Invest In Our Planet.”
The Thyme Garden, located at 20546 Alsea Hwy in Alsea, Ore., will host its Earth Day Celebration on April 24 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. According to Thyme Garden Event Manager Emily Stimac, the Thyme Garden began the free annual event in 2007 to celebrate the Earth and encourage sustainability practices.
Throughout the event, visitors will participate in an Earth Factoid Scavenger Hunt and have access to various workshops and a food booth featuring a potato and nettle soup made in the Thyme Garden kitchen that acts as a spring tonic for the body. At 11:30 a.m., the Thyme Garden will host local author Amoris Walker to read her book “You and Me in the Trees.” Later, at 1:30 p.m., local herbalist Jaci Guerena will lead a Spring Herb Walk.
Stimac said the information presented differs each year, but this year’s Earth Day Celebration is especially important as a way to energize the healing process after the COVID-19 pandemic, including a circle of wellbeing ceremony led by Diane Beck.
Stimac said she hopes the event fuels visitors through its emphasis on sustainability and appreciation for nature on the Thyme Garden’s property. Over the garden’s 32 years of operation, Stimac said they have beautified the property to encourage the message: “Stop, look around and appreciate the Earth.”
Stimac said they use sustainability practices at the Garden, such as reusing as many resources as possible as well as working on a salmon stream restoration project.
“Just being here in the spring, seeing the plants reawaken is a really powerful experience, and it’s amazing to be immersed in nature… It’s a perfect way to reawaken the appreciation we have for the Earth,” Stimac said. “Part of appreciation is thinking of how you can live lighter on the land in a more sustainable lifestyle.”
Stimac said farming and working with nature is a lot of work as a small business, so introducing people to sustainable methods and natural experiences makes it worthwhile.
The Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, a network of community partner organizations, will host several events organized by various volunteer action teams in recognition of Earth Day.
“[The CSC’s] mission is to promote an ecologically, socially and economically healthy city and county,” said Annette Mills, facilitator of the CSC.
The CSC Water Action Team will host the Four Creeks for Earth Day Bike Tour on April 22 from 1 to 5 p.m., Mills said. The Bike Tour raises awareness about dysfunctional urban creeks in Corvallis by biking by the Action Team’s regeneration projects at Lamprey Creek, North Branch Dunawi Creek, South Branch Dunawi Creek and the Mill Race.
Mills said the CSC Waste Prevention Action Team will promote resources for their No Food Left Behind program from April 4 to 8, during Food Waste Prevention Week, in an effort to prevent excessive food waste. On April 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mills said the CSC Food Action Team will have a table at the Beyond Earth Day Community Fair at the OSU Student Experience Center Plaza to promote the consumption of local foods and support for local food producers.
“At the Beyond Earth Day Community Fair, on- and off-campus organizations provide interactive and engaging activities related to sustainable ecosystems, social progress and justice, and a healthy economy,” said Clark Chesshir, a student organizer of the Beyond Earth Day Community Fair. “This event is a great opportunity to network with students, groups, and organizations, and to learn about and celebrate our society and planet.”
Both students and the broader community can register for a booth at the Community Fair by April 8. Or, anyone can attend the event free of cost and without registration.
Furthermore, the CSC Education Action Team will participate in a Planet Palooza in downtown Corvallis in the parking lot across from the Eric Scott McKinley Skate Park from 12:15 p.m. to 3 p.m. on April 16. According to Mills, hands-on activities will encourage childrens’ awareness and appreciation for the Earth.
Mills said the CSC Transportation Action Team will host an Electric Vehicle Show—tentatively scheduled for April 30—to encourage the switch from fossil-fueled transportation to electric transportation.
“[Earth Day] is a time to recognize that the Earth is our life-support system and that we must do everything within our power to mend our relationship with the Earth,” Mills explained. “It’s critical for us to learn what each of us can do, individually and collectively, to move the human species in a different direction.”
Salah Miller, an OSU student and member of Sunrise Corvallis, said large corporations and groups are responsible for the majority of pollution, so Earth Day is an opportunity to shift environmental protection and action from a focus on individual actions to collective action.
Individual sustainability practices are very important, Miller said, but an emphasis on community action to protect the environment would be even more effective.
While Miller said Sunrise Corvallis will not host Earth Day-specific events, the organization continually works to implement the Corvallis Green New Deal in a youth-led effort to regulate community pollution and carbon dioxide emissions with a focus on local social climate justice.