Earth Day Comes Early to Hoopa

Hoopa AmeriCorps member Pamela Branham, seated center, showed children how to plant seeds in small cardboard tubes to protect them until they sprouted during activities on Friday, April 18, to celebrate Earth Day./Photo by Kristan Korns, Two Rivers Tribune

By KRISTAN KORNS, Two Rivers Tribune

The Community Garden was the site of lots of earth-friendly activities, with dozens of booths manned by everyone from gardening advisors to the Hoopa Tribal Environmental Protection Agency (TEPA), on Friday, April 18.

Local gardening expert and cooking show host Meagen Baldy said, “Earth Day is on April 22, but we’re kicking it off early because all the kids are out of school.”

Hoopa AmeriCorps member Pamela Branham cut slices into the ends of short cardboard tubes at the first booth to show kids how to make a quick and easy planter.

“You fold the edges over, fill them with potting soil, and plant a seed in it,” Branham said. “Later, when it sprouts, you can plant the whole thing in the ground.”

Compliance Officer Robert Buckman and Environmental Planner Tonya Lindsey set up a large display at the TEPA booth, showing before and after pictures of illegal dump sites.

Lindsey said, “This is to bring awareness to the young generations of the hazards of illegal dumps and the health effects of burning trash.”

Just a few feet away, Colton Trimble was pedaling as fast as he could to blend up healthy kale, spinach, avocado, and apple smoothies for the crowd.

Health Education Specialist Sandy Earl, with the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services, said, “The kale, spinach, and apples grow here really well, so it’s easy to make.”

Emily Sinkhorn and Debbie Perticara, with the North Coast Community Garden Collaborative, were there to show kids how to plant blueberries and artichokes in the newly plowed area with a drip-irrigation system in the center of the Community Garden.

“We’re helping to bring perennial plants for gardens that will produce food year after year,” Sinkhorn said, and added that they also help people enroll in CalFresh programs.

“CalFresh can help with purchasing seeds and starter plants for people to grow their own food,” Sinkhorn said. “That’s how gardens can help supplement healthy food resources in the community.”

On the other side of the garden, Kaelie Peña and Jasmine Moon showed kids how to grind up waste paper to start seeds off right.

Moon helps with the school gardens in Hoopa, Weitchpec, and Orleans. “They can take old paper, blend it up, and plant seeds in it. Once it dries they can plant it in the ground and it’ll grow.”

“It’s something fun to do that involves planting,” Moon said. “While we’re trying to raise environmental awareness for the kids.”

Sinkhorn said, “There’s such great energy and collaboration here.”

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