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Earth Day celebration a success


Kids watch, feel and listen for the expected whoosh of an object being moved by vacuum power through a tube Friday at the Nespelem pow wow ground in a demonstration of a proposed solution to getting salmon over dams. Dozens of exhibits offered education and goodies at the Colville Tribes annual Earth Day event. - Jacob Wagner photo

The Colville Confederated Tribes held their eighth annual Earth Day celebration on Friday at the Nespelem Pow Wow grounds. Those attending learned about the environment and what we can do to help it.

Many people of all ages attended on the sunny day and enjoyed the roughly 40 booths, free stuff, large amount of raffle prizes, free hot dogs, dancing, drumming, and more.

There were many interactive and educational booths at the event which taught people about recycling, fire safety, clean energy, pollution, traditional and native plants, invasive plants and species, and more.

"The message was well received," said Joaquin Bustamante, Recycling Manager for the Recycling Program, who helped organize the event. "Everybody has really understood that we have to recycle."

Children planted flowers in Dixie cups, made peanut-butter pinecone birdfeeders, and played with rocks and sand in a tray with water pumping through it to understand waterflow and build their own dams. They cranked a handle which showed the resistance of clean energy versus non-renewable energy.

A "Swoosh Machine," set up by the Fish & Wildlife department, demonstrated how fish could be vacuumed past dams, as opposed to building fish ladder systems. The demonstrators placed foam balls into a vacuum tube that quickly transported the balls roughly 50 feet to the other side of the device.

Many prizes were given away at the event in a raffle drawing, including a Traeger grill valued at $800 donated by Coulee Hardware, which went to Scott Conant, and a recliner chair from Loepp Furniture, which went to Maurice Circle.

An estimated 1,500 people attended the event, including more than 500 students from Lake Roosevelt, Omak, Pascal Sherman, Keller, and Nespelem schools. "There were definitely more people than last year," Bustamante said. "We even ran out of food and sodas."

Keller Elementary school won a winner-takes-all penny drive event, in which students collect change, and won over $1,000, beating out Inchelium, Pascal Sherman, Nespelem, and Lake Roosevelt schools.

The event was held using donations from around 40 different companies near and far, small and large, and was organized by the Colville Tribal Recycling Program, Environmental Trust Department, and Colville Indian Housing. "Kathy Moses and Shelly Clark did an awesome job," said Bustamante. "It was a huge, huge success."

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