Locals celebrate Earth Day

Individuals collected nearly 1,700 pounds of trash on San Juan Island alone, during the Great Island Clean Up April 23, according to San Juan County Environmental Stewardship Department’s Solid Waste Coordinator Katie Fleming. People flocked to the San Juan Brewery afterward, to celebrate.

The River Rye Bluegrass ban kept the crowd on their feet, especially the youngest attendees. After a few hours, the band took a break for some inspiring speeches and awards.

“There have been stewards of this land for over ten thousand years,” Samuel Bar, a member of the Samish Nation, told the crowd, “and I beg of you to keep it up.”

Bar stressed the importance of the islands and the Salish Sea surrounding them, not just for today, but for future generations, and he thanked everyone for participating.

The Youth award was handed to Lyric Melville for his outstanding activism, who briefly addressed the crowd stating how honored he was.

Teacher Lauren Johnson was also awarded, as well as SMRU Consulting. Neither were available to accept their award.

Awards were given to individual Dante Aubert and RP Oats. Aubert is a volunteer and member of the fox brigade at the San Juan Island National Historical Park. A fox brigade is a group that helps protect foxes at American Camp at the south end of San Juan Island from overly curious humans, particularly photographers. Oats worked closely with the Marine Resource Committee installing and monitoring sea bins which help filter trash from the sea.

“I hope the sea bin program continues to grow,” Oats said.

Heather Spaulding/ Staff photo
One of the dancers at the celebration
Heather Spaulding/ Staff photo
River Rye Bluegrass dancers
Heather Spaulding/ Staff photo
Francis Roberts awarding RP Oats
Heather Spaulding/ Staff photo
River Rye Bluegrass band