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THE FREE PRESS Thursday, April 10, 2014

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go green ~ earth day 2014

Welcome to Earth Day 2014! E

arth Day is a time to celebrate the wonders of our environment here on planet earth! Join us to celebrate on Tuesday, April 22 at the Arts Station in historic downtown Fernie. We are bringing local organizations together to create a day of amazing events and activities for all ages to mark this special day. The fun and festivities run throughout the day. We kick-off with challenges you can do in your own home. Take the Trash Bash or Get Wild Challenge. Learn how to participate by reading more on the events page, then document what you did and share it on Earth Day Fernie’s Facebook page to win great prizes. Join us at the Arts Station from 3 to 5pm for kid-friendly after-school fun. There will be mini eco-film fest, creative arts activities and awesome environmental exhibits all washed down with healthy juices and a popcorn snack. Come and enjoy the fun at this free event. Join us again in the evening for more fun. A Fernie Green Drinks event starts at 6:30 pm for friendly environmental discussions and mix’n mingle. Eco Info Booths will be out for you to learn more about: Kootenay Car Share, WildLifeBC, Wild Plants, Wildsight, Cold Climate Gardening and the Flathead Wild Art exhibit. At 7 pm, Think Tank Cinema will ignite the screen in the theatre with an inspiring film, The Wisdom to Survive. The evening will wrap-up with Wildsight’s brief Annual General Meeting and election of directors. The AGM is open to the public, and all are encouraged to attend and to enjoy free appetizers. Come hear about the work Wildsight is doing in your community. Earth Day 2014 events are coordinated by the Wildsight Elk Valley branch with financial support from Teck and support from The Free Press. A big thanks goes out to all the volunteers that have helped make this event happen. To learn more about all the amazing Earth Day fun, please visit We challenge you to do something out of the ordinary to celebrate the environment this Earth Day. Be grateful for the beautiful place we live in. Take a moment to appreciate the clean air and water we have surrounding us. Then, take action. Consider a small (or big) step you can take to ensure a clean and healthy planet for generations to come.

By Megan Lohman


rganics diversion (or composting) is one of the simplest ways to impact community-wide greenhouse gas emissions. Many Fernie residents already engage in backyard composting – an effective way to deal with vegetable and fruit scraps. When organics decompose in an oxygenated environment (or aerobic environment, where compost is turned and aerated), significantly less methane is released. Conversely, in an anaerobic environment (where little to no oxygen exists, such as a landfill), methane is the main gas produced through the process of decomposition. This is why methane capture from landfills can be so successful – the gas is plentiful and has high energy content.

Unlike backyard composting, this pilot will take any food scraps, including meats, cheese, oils, bread and other items that would normally be kept out of backyard composts.

In Fernie, residents produced about 4,333 tonnes of solid waste in 2010 (Community Energy and Emissions Inventory). The Regional District of East Kootenay, of which Fernie is part of, has the highest rate of solid waste per capita in all of British Columbia. There may be many reasons for this, but easy access to solid waste disposal (free dumping at the transfer station) and relatively low uptake in recycling are certain contributors to the high statistic. Improving diversion opportunities is an effective way to reduce the amount of waste we are sending to the landfill, and in turn, reduce the amount of methane and greenhouse gas emissions produced as a result.

The City of Fernie Council has directed staff to work with Carbon Neutral Kootenays and a group of local volunteers to develop an organics curbside pilot program. The pilot is proposed to roll summer of 2014, and will test the challenges and barriers of broad community engagement around organics collection. The pilot will focus on approximately 100 homes, providing kitchen and curbside containers. Unlike backyard composting, this pilot will take any food scraps, including meats, cheese, oils, bread and other items that would normally be kept out of backyard composts. This provides opportunity, even for those that do have their own compost system, to participate.

The pilot project will help determine the interest of the community in pursuing a broader, community-wide initiative. Designing a curbside composting program requires consideration of many different components: the inputs, collection, processing, end use and of course communication and education. There is potential for a local system to divert a significant amount of waste, particularly where there is opportunity to engage the commercial sector (restaurants, cafés and grocery stores). Further consideration will be given to the type of process, but the options are many, ranging from technical ‘in-vessel’ systems to open air windrow systems. The City of Fernie is certainly responding to a strong interest in the community to see such a system developed in Fernie. A similar initiative has been successfully implemented in Grand Forks by the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary – a full community-wide curbside organics system has dramatically decreased the amount of solid waste collected from the community. Coordinating a curbside pickup alleviates the concern of some regarding backyard compost as a bear attractant. The organics bin should be treated the same as the regular household waste bin – kept off the curb until the morning of collection. The contents are the same as a regular garbage bag, simply separated. Communications will be provided to help residents manage their organic waste and make the collection process as easy as possible.

Happy Earth Day! 2014 Earth Day Committee

In the meantime, continue to think about how to reduce your waste in other, simple ways. Consider the packaging of products your purchase, and make sure you’re recycling whenever possible.

WILDSIGHT ELK VALLEY working to protect biodiversity and creating a more sustainable Fernie with: 891 2nd Ave Fernie 250.423.3322

- Classroom with Outdoors - Community EcoGarden -Think Tank Cinema - Fernie Ride Board - Beyond Recycling - Wild Nature Tours - Think Local First - Winter Wonder -Flathead Wild


THE FREE PRESS Thursday, April 10, 2014

go green ~ earth week 2014

THE FREE PRESS Thursday, April 10, 2014

go green ~ earth week 2014

It’s In Your Hands

April 22, 2014 is Earth Day

Earth Day Fun Trivia Earth Day was first celebrated in: A) 1960 B) 1965

C) 1970 D) 1975

Which household appliance uses the most energy? A) Refrigerator C) Dishwasher B) Toaster D) Washing machine Recycling 1,000 kg of aluminum saves enough energy to heat a/an ____________ for 10 years. A) Typical home C) Corner store B) Elementary school D) Restaurant What household appliance uses the second most amount of energy (the first is the refrigerator)? A) Hair dryer C) Microwave B) Clothes Dryer D) Computer The average Canadian home is illuminated by ___ light bulbs: A) 31 C) 51 B) 41 D) 61

You can use ANY yellow bin in the East Kootenay. Here are some quick tips to remember when recycling in the Elk Valley: • All plastics MUST be clean and have a number between 1 and 6. That number must be in the triangular recycling symbol. If there is no number, it should go in the garbage if it can’t be reused. • All plastic grocery/shopping bags can be recycled -- even if they don’t have a number on them. This is the only item that can be recycled if it doesn’t have a number. All other plastics must be numbered • Styrofoam CANNOT be recycled -- even if it is marked with a number 6. • Tin cans should be well rinsed with labels removed, if possible. • Cardboard should be flattened to save bin space. • All paper products can go in the yellow bins (and Fernie’s blue bag program) -- including hard and soft cover books. Foil covered or waxy papers (like milk cartons or foil greeting cards) cannot be recycled. Milk cartons can be taken to the Fernie Bottle Depot for recycling.

Paper, cardboard, tin

The average Canadian uses 36,000 L of water each year for: A) Showers C) Laundry B) Dish Washing D) Toilet Flushing Composting can reduce your household waste by: A) 10% B) 25%

Medications Return

Recycling 101 - The Basics

Unused and expired medicines can be returned to pharmacies participating in the Medications Return Program. What’s accepted: All prescription drugs Non-prescription medication Herbal products Vitamin and mineral supplements Throat lozenges

plastics #1-#6 go in the

C) 50% D) 75%

yellow bins in the RDEK and the City of Fernie’s blue bag program.

What You Need to Know About Glass Glass goes in the yellow bins marked “Glass Only”. The only glass that is accepted for recycling is food-grade glass, which is anything that holds your food or beverages. This includes: • •

jam jars salsa jars

• •

olive oil jars beverage bottles

Dishes, picture frames, trinkets, ceramics, light bulbs, window glass, etc. should NEVER go in the glass recycling bin. They contaminate the load and could cause the entire bin to be landfilled. In the Elk Valley, the glass recycling bins are located at the Elkford Transfer Station, Elkford Camp Road, Sparwood Heights, next to Sparwood Esso, Sparwood Transfer Station, Silver Fox Pub, Fernie Transfer Station and Fernie Bottle Depot.

In BC, over 50,000 kg of unused or expired medicines are

What’s NOT accepted: Cosmetics, skin care products Disinfectants/cleaners Contact lens solutions Sunscreen/suntan lotion Mouthwashes and toothpastes

The electronics recycling depot for the Elk Valley is: Fernie Bottle Depot 1291 Ridgemont Avenue, Fernie Phone: 250-423-2009

The drop off locations for old batteries and cellphones in the Elk Valley include: City of Fernie Fernie Aquatic Centre

The recycling program is for residentially generated lights only. The commercial and industrial recycling program is expected to begin later in 2012. There are currently two LightRecycle Depots in the East Kootenay: Fernie Home Building Centre 300 Manitou Road Cranbrook Home Hardware 1901 McPhee Road Cranbrook - Skyway Distributors Ltd 304 NW Slater Road

• • • • • • • •

Speakers Earphones Microphones Telephones Discman, walkman Radios Cable, satellite and PVR boxes Vehicle audio and video systems

This year the program also expanded to include over 120 new items, such as: Blenders Microwaves Food Processors and mixers Bread makers Coffee grinders Clocks and timers Bathroom scales Ironing Boards and Irons Portable fans Portable heaters

From AAA to odd size batteries (like the ones in your portable phone), batteries can be recycled in many communities around the region.

LightRecycle is the new BC fluorescent light recycling program. Each recycling location will accept your burnt out compact fluorescent and tube fluorescent light bulbs, free of charge.

Recycling Your Old Electronics

• • • • • • • • • •

Both your alkaline and rechargeable batteries are recyclable.

Fluorescent Lights Can Be Recycled

For more information visit

They accept a wide range of electronics, including: • Televisions • Computers & peripherals (keyboard, mouse) • Monitors • Fax machines • DVD/VHS players • Scanners • Stereos, MP3 players & docking stations

Batteries Included

collected each year

Proper disposal of medicines is important. Check dates on medications today - and call your local pharmacy to see if they are participating in the Return Program.

cans, grocery bags and

Answers: C; A – Refrigerators use about 11% of a household’s total energy consumption; A - Recycling 1,000 kg of aluminum saves the equivalent of 10,000 L of gasoline; B; B; D - the average toilet uses about 19 litres per flush; C.


• Automatic toothbrushes • Electric razors

Incandescent lights cannot be recycled at this time. For more information, visit

Learn More About Earth Day Earth Week is a great time to think about what each of us can do to make a positive difference. Reducing, reusing and recycling really add up. This year, they have a “Make It Count” Challenge, which focuses on four action categories: eat, grow, transform and share. The 2014 Earth Day challenges offer: • Step-by-step guides that kids, teachers/group leaders can use • Tips and activities for individuals, groups and businesses to work together to keep commitments

For more information, contact the RDEK at 250-489-2791 or 1-888-478-7335



THE FREE PRESS Thursday, April 10, 2014

go green ~ earth day 2014 First Vital Sign of a Healthy Elk River: Land Cover in the Valley Bottom



Trash Bash Challenge

By LeeAnne Walker


eople intuitively know that a healthy watershed protects human health. But what does healthy look like? The Elk River Alliance (ERA), our local community-based water group, has listened to residents’ express their interest in a healthy watershed at the Elk River Watershed Dialogue: Opportunities for Collaboration and Action Solutions in Fernie.

May 2012, people asked for more information on Elk River watershed health. They asked for a ‘state of the watershed report’; similar to a human health check-up. All of us would like assurance that the Elk River is healthy. If we understand the current condition of the Elk River, identify the issues that could cause impacts, then we could minimize negative and promote positive actions. The doctor, or in this case the aquatic scientists, could help us track the effect of human decision making to determine the best course in protecting watershed health. Instead of checking human vitals like temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and respiration, a rivers health is determined by indicators like water quality, water quantity, macro invertebrates (i.e. spineless water bugs that cling to rocks), and the land cover of the valley bottom. Between Elkford and Elko is where most of us live, work and play. Our actions in the valley bottom end up in the river and are passed on to others downstream. To determine the health of the valley bottom, ERA measured the amount of land cover that was natural and disturbed. Using orthophotos and lidar images, scientists used GIS to conduct the analysis to see what human actions in this confined area might impact fish, wildlife and watershed functions.

Why should we care if the valley bottom is healthy and how will it benefit my health? • Plants in the riparian forests in the valley bottom filter out silt and other contaminants protecting water quality. • Deep/dense root structures stabilize riverbanks to prevent erosion. • Riparian areas provide migration corridors for wildlife and recreational areas for residents and opportunities for wildlife watching. • High quality valley bottom habitat supports fish and wildlife biodiversity. • Vegetated cover retains or slows down water during high flow periods and can help prevent the negative effects of flooding. • Natural areas provide space for stream channel processes to naturally flow.

ERA selected a valley bottom assessment as the first phase of reporting to residents on river health. Here are some of the results of the health check-up on the valley bottom: • Three biogeoclimatic zones (montane spruce, interior cedar-hemlock, interior Douglas fir) contain 17 sensitive ecological communities, 66 red-listed (endangered) and 108 bluelisted (threatened) plant and animal species. • 64 per cent of the valley bottom is natural habitat (forested, water and unforested vegetated cover). • Of the developed areas, most were once forested (25 per cent) and now replaced with other vegetation e.g. hay fields, lawns, and golf courses. • Built-up areas (e.g. buildings), roads, railways and industrial areas had low coverage at 10 per cent. • Natural vegetative cover in the 30 m riparian area was 86 per cent in the study area. Riparian areas or the transition area between the water and upland not only provide many biodiversity attributes and wildlife habitat, they are also important to healthy watershed function. • Scientists noted four key stressors affecting the health of the valley bottom: urban/road/ railway/industrial development, construction of dikes to protect from flooding, valley bottom habitat removal for development, and impervious or hardened surfaces. Together we can promote health in the valley bottom. Share these findings with your watershed friends and neighbours. Use this information as a point of discussion with local decision-makers to encourage leaving natural vegetation in the valley bottom. Help everyone in your family to understand where our water comes from, goes and how it is a collective responsibility to protect watershed health. Live as if water is life and pass on high quality water to downstream users.

For more information read the full report: “Elk River Watershed Valley Bottom Assessment: Report to Residents on River Health, Phase 1”. It is available at

Kick off your day with the “Trash Bash Challenge”. Find an outdoor area that you love and take initiative to clean up your neighbourhood. Grab your friends and family and get outside to make a difference.  Take a photo and post it to the Earth Day Fernie facebook page, earthdayfernie. With your post, include how many bags, how many people and how much time you spend cleaning up your neighbourhood.  Tell us what was the most common and most interesting garbage you found.   Need supplies? Swing by to pick up garbage bags and gloves - available at the Wildsight office 10 am-1 pm, and at the Arts Station 2-5 pm. Prizes for participating in the Trash Bash Challenge will be awarded at the Earth Day festivities.

Get Wild Challenge

Grab your camera or cell phone and become part of the ‘Get Wild Challenge’. Get outside, take deep breaths, see the beauty and take photos. Share your great photoops on Let us know why you love spending time in nature on Earth Day. Tell us how much time you spent outside and what you did – then post it on Earth Day Fernie Facebook page. At the end of the day, visit the site to discover what others have done! You might get some great ideas - it’s all good clean fun! Prizes for participating in the Get Wild Challenge will be presented at the Earth Day festivities.

Kids Fun

Come on down to the Arts Station for kidfriendly, after-school fun - a mini eco-film festival, creative arts activities and awesome environmental exhibits all washed down with healthy juices and a popcorn snack. Enjoy making an earth ball out of felt, create your very own earth button, or look at your garbage with a different perspective with a trashy but flashy craft project. Explore the interactive WildSafeBC booth, match the seed with the plant at the EcoGarden booth and more. It’s all free, and it all happens from 3-5 pm.

Flathead Wild Art Exhibition

Take some time to enjoy the fabulous Flathead Wild Art Exhibition showcased at the Arts Station. The show is the result of bringing local artists into the wild Flathead River Valley for a week. It features works from Laura Nelson (Fernie), Tara Higgins (Fernie), Joseph Cross (Cranbrook), Denise Lemaster (Invermere), and Simon Haiduk (Kimberley). It also features works from Jackson Hole-based artist Dwayne Harty, Banff National Park’s inaugural artist-in-

residence. From 6:30 to 7 pm, Fernie artists Laura Nelson and Tara Higgins will take you on a brief tour of painting in the environmentally sensitive Flathead.

Green Drinks

The evening celebrations begin with great conversation with a ‘Green Drinks’ event, a chance to mix and mingle with others over a drink. Throughout the night, the Eco Information Booths will have many interactive opportunities to explore while you enjoy a beverage or two. The bar will be open throughout the excitement of the night, 6:30 to 9 pm.

Eco Information booths

Visit the display booths and learn more about the benefits of Car Share, become more informed about the WildSafeBC program, and come explore the food, fibre and medicine that are in our backyard with Wild Plants with Denise Holden. Explore the beauty, diversity, and viability of growing food in a cold climate with Jennifer Heath and Helen McAllister in Down to Earth – Cold Climate gardens and their keepers. The Eco Info Booths will be open before and after the film and during intermission.

Think Tank Cinema

Step into the Art Station’s theatre to enjoy a Think Tank Cinema presentation of The Wisdom of Survival. Climate change is here. Will we have the wisdom to survive? The film features thought leaders and activists in the realms of science, economics and spirituality discussing how we can evolve and take action in the face of climate disruption. The film includes interviews with activists Bill McKibben, Joanna Macy, Roger Payne, Herschelle Milford, Quincy Saul, and more. “A brilliant, achingly poignant film. A must see movie!”. This by donation film starts at 7 pm sharp.

Seed Swap

Join the EcoGarden and get ready to garden with another amazing EcoGarden Seed Swap. Bring your own locally grown seeds to swap or bring money to buy. The seed swap runs from 3-7 pm and will offer locally grown seeds, local growing information and an opportunity to learn more about getting involved with the Community EcoGarden.

Wildsight AGM & appies

Refill your ‘Green Drinks’ glass, enjoy some sumptuous appetizers and listen in to the Wildsight Elk Valley branch Annual General Meeting. Learn about Wildsight’s achievements for 2013. The brief AGM will run from 8:30 to 9 pm.

Go Green 2014  
Go Green 2014  

Check out what's going on for Earth Day this year, in The Free Press' Go Green supplement.