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Every day is Earth Day

ABHUTCHISON

For Truckee, it seems every day is Earth Day. Local organizations work year-round to protect Truckee’s environment and natural habitat.

Based on the consensus from various groups, Truckee residents work hard to respect the environment and to support environmental-friendly projects.

In recognition of Earth Day, April 22, here’s what different organizations are doing to protect and take care of Mother Earth:

– Citizen’s Waste Management Advisory Committee – The Truckee Town Council recently formed this committee in an effort to comply with State recycling mandates, which requires all localities to divert 50 percent of materials which would otherwise be destined for landfilling, by the year 2000.

Each Californian, on average, generates eight pounds of waste every day. According to the California Integrated Waste Management Board, Californians are responsible for 44 million tons of garbage each year, more than a quarter of which is packaging. Packaging is the number one waste problem in America.

According to Beth Ingalls, CWMAC committee chair, a recent study put Truckee’s current diversion rate at roughly 36 percent.

CWMAC will implement programs that will focus heavily on public education and awareness of recycling and waste reduction issues.

One of the committee’s goals is to educate the public about the “blue bag” recycling program which is already in place by the Truckee-Tahoe Sierra Disposal Company.

Truckee-Tahoe Sierra Disposal Company

In an effort to meet the statewide goal to reduce the state’s waste stream by 50 percent by the year 2000, the Truckee-Tahoe Sierra Disposal Company started the “Blue Bag ” program. This program is a voluntary and simple recycling program available to TTSD customers, and residents are encouraged to place all dry, clean recyclable materials in a special blue plastic bag alongside their garbage on the normal garbage service day. The recyclables in the blue bag will be collected and processed at the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) located at the Eastern Regional Landfill.

“Truckee is in the ball park (with recycling). The 50 percent diversion is going to be hard to make, but we are pretty close,” said Vince Nocito, of TTSD.

“Truckee is doing really well. There is definitely room for improvement, but I have seen a huge improvement in the past five years,” said Kevin Delaney, also of TTSD.

What can be recycled in the “blue-bag”?

— Magazines and newspapers

— Plastic containers: #1 and #2 only

— Glass containers

— Aluminum cans, Bi-metal cans

— Steel cans (vegetable and fruit “tin” cans)

Items not accepted: aluminum foil, contaminated plastic, plastic grocery bags, ceramics, crystal, window panes, pharmaceutical bottles, light bulbs, drinking glasses, mirrors, Pyrex, dishes, wax or plastic coated cartons.

The blue-bag program averages approximately 26 cents per month for an average family, according to the TTSD. Blue recycling bags can be purchased at Mountain Hardware, Longs, Lucky and Safeway.

For information, call 583-0148.

Schools

Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District schools all make an effort conduct school-wide recycling programs.

Seventh grade science students at Sierra Mountain Middle School recently raised $500 through a candy fund-raiser, which they will donate to national and local environmental organizations. Sue Mock’s seventh grade elective ecology class will vote on what amount they will give to the various groups. Groups they will donate to are Greenpeace, Tahoe Wildlife Shelter, Truckee Humane Society, and the Nature Conservancy.

“For ecology students, it gives them a way to be aware how they can help outside of their school as well,” said Mock.

SMMS is also involved in weekly recycling programs.

“We try to promote Earth Day year-round and not just on Earth Day,” said Mock.

Truckee River Habitat Restoration Group

The habitat restoration group was started three years ago to help facilitate river restoration and clean-up. The group started Truckee River Day, where volunteers from the community come together help in various river clean-up, restoration, vegetation and regeneration projects. Last year, somewhere between 800 and 1,000 volunteers participated in Truckee River Day.

“I think there is an incredible wealth of community support on environmental issues in Truckee,” said Brian Kearney, Truckee River Habitat Restoration Group board member and volunteer. “This community has such a beautiful environment. In a community as small as this there is really a phenomenal response to environmental issues.”

The habitat restoration group also helps facilitate research projects along the river.

River Day takes place in October of each year. This year they will have an elder hostel, where people from around the nation will come to work on the river in a week-long program, said Kearney.

Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board

Lahontan works year-round to research water quality in the district and facilitates what needs to be done to maintain quality water.

Sierra Watershed Education Project

Sierra Watershed Education Education Partnerships works in coordination with the AmeriCorps Watershed Project to “to involve students in hands-on applications of science concepts in their local watershed,” said Sarah Green, project manager.

The project helps involve Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District students in monitoring restoration projects such as water quality, erosion control and forest health.

A Watershed Fair will be held June 5 at the Truckee River Regional Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., where students will culminate the year with activities in watershed education. Twelve resource groups will be present to highlight current projects. It will be an informative and activity-based day, said Green.

For information, call 550-0819.

Truckee Donner Land Trust

The Tahoe Donner Land Trust strives to preserve and protect important recreation and scenic landin the area.

“We want to preserve what everyone loves about the area,” said Kris Norris, communications coordinator for the group.

The land trust works with the Town of Truckee on open space issues, California State Parks, landowners to do conservation easements, and is involved with various projects locally to meet its goal of protecting our environment.

One project the group is currently working on is acquiring the Schallenberger Ridge, the back-drop to Donner Lake, and completing the construction of the Donner Rim Trail, which will offer 22 miles of biking, hiking, and equestrian use.

Nevada County Y.O.U.T.H.

Nevada County Y.O.U.T.H. will sponsor the First Annual Earth Day Butt Pick-Up, where local organizations and individuals will help keep Nevada County clean by picking up cigarette butts.

Volunteers will meet at the Northern California Center for the Arts, located on 314 W. Main Street, Grass Valley at 2 p.m. on April 25. For information and to sign up call 267-7018.

“These young men and women care about what kind of earth they will leave their children and grandchildren,” said Pamela Satrapa of the Nevada County Public Health Department.

According to a fact sheet for the event:

— The cigarette butts that are littered each year weigh as much as 30,800 large elephants.

— At the Grand Canyon, workers pick up four gallons of cigarette butts each year.

— Cigarette butts are the most common piece of litter at the beach.

— Cigarette butts wash into rivers and lakes. Seabirds and other animals eat the cigarette butts, the animals cannot digest the cigarette butts and they die.


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