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Earth Day draws crowds, drones


A Bureau of Reclamation employee explains the principles of electricity making, using a blower and a small windmill, at last Friday's Earth Day event in Nespelem. - Jacob Wagner photo

The Colville Tribes hosted their ninth annual Earth Day celebration on Friday, giving away T-shirts and raffle items, hosting a free barbecue, and teaching children and adults alike about Earth Day-related topics.

Hosted at the powwow grounds in Nespelem, booths provided information on electricity, forestry, recycling, drainage and runoff of different soil types, how to reuse old clothes, invasive species, health and nutrition, and much more.

A popular booth hosted by M3 Consulting Group had both a large and small drone. Children were allowed to fly the smaller drone, and M3CG employees explained how the larger drone will be used to release sterilized codling moths onto Omak area orchards. The sterilized moths will breed with the native moths, effectively producing no offspring and getting rid of the moths that burrow into the apples, cutting into profits for apple growers.

A Colville Tribes' forestry booth gave out ponderosa pines for people to plant.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture booth demonstrated the drainage and surface runoff, comparing overgrazed land, which had the most runoff and least drainage, to native soil, which had the least runoff and most drainage, and to "tame land," which fell in the middle.

A display at an e-cycling booth said that the when recycling electronics, such as televisions and computers, only about 3 percent of the materials end up in landfills.

The sunny, outdoor event included traditional native American drumming and dancing.

Following a free barbecue lunch, a raffle was held.

Top prizes in the raffle drawing were a Traeger-brand grill, donated by Coulee Hardware, and a 6-foot-tall freezer, donated by Loepp Furniture and Appliance. Many more items related to the outdoors were given out as raffle prizes.

Several people and organizations were honored at the event, including Paschal Sherman Indian School, which won a prize of $600 for donating 600 pounds of clothing in a drive competition; Upper Columbia United Tribes, for their documentary "United by Water," which documents a historic canoe trip to Kettle Falls by native members; Patty Sam, for her involvement with canoe tournaments; Okanogan Virginia Granger School, for a composting and gardening project; and Margy Smith, for demonstrating vermicular composting, or composting with worms.

The event was put on by the Colville Tribes Earth Day Committee, composed of Joaquin Bustamante and Steven Wynecoop, from Colville Tribal Recycling; and Kathy Moses and Shelly Clark, from the Colville Tribes' Environmental Trust program.

"I want to give a huge thanks to Kathy Moses and Shelly Clark for their awesome assistance," Bustamante said.

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