Green Kirkland Partnership volunteers spread mulch at Juanita Bay Park. Contributed photo

City of Kirkland prepares for Earth Month

In a city as green as Kirkland, celebration of the planet isn’t limited to one day. City staff is preparing for Earth Month in April with a variety of events planned for citizens to learn how to be better stewards of their environment.

“Expanding (Earth Day) into a broader thing is a way for the public to learn new things,” Tracy Durnell, education and outreach specialist with the City of Kirkland Solid Waste Division, said.

Kirkland Conserves, a joint venture of the city’s recycling team and storm water team, is organizing the series of free events.

“It’s helpful to unite the public in thinking about the environment,” Durnell said. “Our community is very interested in being green … but sometimes, they’re not sure where to start. We’re hoping this coordinated effort can bring them that knowledge.”

Throughout the month, Kirkland Conserves will be sending out 21 brief emails with manageable assignments meant to help residents make their homes simpler, healthier and greener. Those who participate shouldn’t feel pressured to complete all 21 tasks, Durnell said.

“I’m hoping that if people sign up, they’ll do two or three things,” she said. “There won’t be any reporting back.”

Those who sign up for the community Green Home Challenge at kirklandwa.gov/greenhome will get free tools such as battery chargers and countertop compost pails, and they’ll also receive a Chinook Book App 12-month code with discounts at local businesses. The challenge starts April 1.

In addition to the challenge, Kirkland Conserves will also offer a variety of classes, workshops and other events at various locations in April and beyond. They include:

Styrofest, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. April 8 at Kirkland Public Works Maintenance Center: Kirkland residents can drop off up to one car load of clean, dry and empty styrofoam and plastic bags.

Green Cleaning Workshop, 6:30-8 p.m. April 11 at Kirkland Library: A professional housekeeper will help attendees go toxic-free with green cleaning techniques and tips.

Everyday Cycling: Commutes and Errands by Bike, 6:30-8 p.m. April 18 at Kirkland Library: An instructor from Cascade Bicycle Club will walk attendees through the basics of biking for commuting and errands, including learning what gear is necessary and figuring out how to plan a route.

Bikeology: A Community Panel by Kirkland Cyclists, 7-8 p.m. April 19 at Heritage Hall: Panelists, including a bike-commuting police officer, a bike-commuting transportation manager and a biking mother of four with a five-person electric bicycle, will share the knowledge they’ve gleaned through decades of experience.

Turning Homeward: Restoring Hope and Nature in the Urban Wild, 7-8:30 p.m. April 20 at Kirkland Library: Amateur naturalist and award-winning writer Adrienne Ross Scanlan will discuss the restoration of 11 altered Puget Sound landscapes.

Growing a Healthy Lawn and Garden, 1-3 p.m. April 23 at McAuliffe Park: Attendees will learn what makes soil work for plants and how to improve it to save water, reduce maintenance and keep plants growing stress-free.

Earth Fair, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. April 26 at Kirkland City Hall: More than 10 local organizations will be on hand to provide information about going green at home. Attendees will also have the opportunity to recycle fluorescent tubes for free and buy discounted LEDs and low-flow showerheads.

Lighten Up: Clear Your Clutter, 6:30-8 p.m. April 27 at Kirkland Library: Attendees will learn techniques for simplifying their lives, buying less and making their homes healthier and happier.

Smart Water Management for Your Garden, 1-3 p.m. April 30 at McAuliffe Park: Attendees will explore plant choices, review best planting techniques and discuss water management techniques for both winter and summer.

Benefitting from Beneficial Insects, 1-3 p.m. May 7 at McAuliffe Park: This workshop offers close-up looks at different beneficial insects, and attendees will spend time outdoors on a flower identification and insect tour.

Kirkland Conserves has offered similar workshops and classes in the past through its Sustainability Education Series, but this is the first year for the Green Home Challenge and the Earth Fair, Durnell said.

“This is the first year that we’ve expanded our events and called it Earth Month,” she said. “We’re trying to broaden our impact by combining our classes with the Earth Fair and the Green Home Challenge.”

More information about Styrofest can be found at kirklandwa.gov/recycle. More information about all of the green living classes, natural yard care workshops, Earth Fair and biking events can be found at kirklandpw.eventbrite.com or by calling 425-587-3812. Advanced registration is not required for these events. More information about Kirkland Conserves is available at environmentalservices.cityofkirklandblogs.com.

On top of the Kirkland Conserves events, the Green Kirkland Partnership has more than a dozen volunteer restoration events planned in April, including an Earth Day event on April 22 at Juanita Heights Park.

“They’re very excited about (Earth Day) this year because it’s on a Saturday,” Durnell said.

The Green Kirkland events fill up quickly, and registration is required. For more information, find the Green Kirkland Partnership page at kirklandwa.gov.

In addition to the public initiatives, Kirkland City Hall staff will also mark Earth Month through a variety of initiatives including education about waste reduction, a biking class and electronics recycling.

Denise Frakes of Blue Sky Services teaches a Green Cleaning Class. Contributed photo

Green Kirkland Partnership volunteers plant ferns. Contributed photo

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