By Josette Keelor
Earth Day is an international attempt at focusing attention on planet-friendly practices. The first Earth Day in 1970 encouraged 20 million Americans to do their part to save the world. Now, according to the Earth Day Network, at www.earthday.org, more than a billion people in 192 countries participate every year on April 22.
Around the valley, Earth Day efforts will have a head start with celebrations beginning Saturday.
Events in Winchester will guide residents in making the most of the growing season by offering a collection of free, informal and expertly led programs on environmentally sustainable gardening through the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley and Southern States.
It's the first time the two have partnered on anything this big, said Julie Armel, deputy director of community relations at the museum.
"This is actually the first time that we've done something for Earth Day," she said. "We just wanted to offer an opportunity on the weekend when more folks can participate."
"Our hope is to inspire gardeners," she added.
Events at Southern States, 447 Amherst St., will begin with the class "How to Plant: Annuals to Trees" from 8 to 10 a.m.
From 10 to 11 a.m., Christopher Oldham, landscape architect, tree consultant and Southern States nursery supervisor, will speak on over-the-counter organic solutions for pest problems. Other programs are "Turf Establishment and Maintenance" from 1 to 2 p.m., "Soil Amendments and When They are Needed" from 2 to 3 p.m. and "Which Fertilizer and When to Use It" from 3 to 4 p.m.
Southern States also will have Easter egg hunts at 10 and 11 a.m.
At 901 Amherst St., visitors to the museum will learn "How to Have the Best Vegetable Garden Ever" with Master Gardener Paula Brownlee in the reception hall at 10 a.m. Other programs will be "Right Plant/Right Place" with Oldham and museum Director of Gardens Perry Mathewes at 11 a.m., "Native/Non-Native and Invasive Species of Plants" with Mathewes and Oldham at 1:30 p.m., "Rain Gardens" from 2 to 3 p.m. and "Container Gardens" from 3 to 4 p.m., both by Mathewes.
Author Scott Jost, associate professor of photography and design at Bridgewater College, will sign copies of his book "Shenandoah Valley Apples" from noon to 4 p.m.
Museum admission is not required to attend Earth Day programs or the book signing, but the book is $34.95 in the museum store. For more information, call 540-662-1473, ext. 235, or visit www.theMSV.org.
On Tuesday, the Virginia State Arboretum at Blandy Experimental Farm in Boyce will host English and Spanish Earth Day tours of its nature trails from 10 a.m. to noon. For more information, call 540-837-1758, ext. 224 or visit www.blandy.virginia.edu.
An Earth Day Wildflower Walk will be held at the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum and Botanical Gardens at 780 University Blvd., Harrisonburg, at 10 a.m. Tuesday. For more information, call 540-568-3194 or visit www.jmu.edu/arboretum.
Also on Tuesday, the Earth Day Celebration at Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown will begin at 11 a.m. as a way of educating students on ways to be green and opportunities for shredding documents and recycling.
A tree planting demonstration by Fort Valley Nursery will take place outside the Student Union from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
At noon a screening of the 2008 documentary "Food Inc." will be held in the Student Union Lounge. Other events include a nature walk with seven "leave no trace" principles starting at 2 p.m. outside the Student Union bookstore, and electronics recycling for cell phones, laptops and desktop towers all day at the electronics security desk in Fairfax Hall. No monitors will be accepted.
For more information, call 540-868-7000 or visit www.lfcc.edu.
Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or email@example.com