Swaner EcoCenter plans an Earth Day party | ParkRecord.com

Swaner EcoCenter plans an Earth Day party

Earth Day turns 48 this year, and the Swaner EcoCenter wants to invite the public to the party.

The free celebration will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 22, at the EcoCenter, 1258 Center Drive at Kimball Junction, said the nonprofit's Visitor Experience Coordinator Hunter Klingensmith. The celebration will continue the vision of the late Senator Gaylord Nelson, a Wisconsin Democrat who, along with others, founded the annual celebration as a way to raise awareness about pollution and inject environmental protection into the political conversation.

"We have partnered with many other nonprofit and for-profit organizations and we'll have a schedule of different events throughout the day," Klingensmith said. "Some of these organizations, such as Summit Community Power Works and Relief Utah, will have tables set up and their representatives will answer any questions people may have about their missions and what they have going on."

The day's events unofficially begin with a Birding Basics class that will start at 9 a.m., just before the Earth Day celebration.

The whole point of the celebtration is to get people excited about nature...”Hunter Klingensmith,Swaner Preserve andEcoCenter visitorexperience coordinator

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"It's not officially part of the celebration, but there are openings still available," Klingensmith said.

Birding Basics costs $10 for the general public and $5 for EcoCenter members and will run until 11 a.m. Local bird expert Kenny Frisch, who leads the EcoCenter's Avian Adventures tours, will facilitate Birding Basics.

"The class will make birding more accessible to beginners, but is also enjoyable to advanced birders," Klingensmith said. "Kelly will hold a Q&A and then lead a walking field trip through the preserve. We will provide binoculars, but people are welcome to bring their own."

Some of the organizations will lead family-friendly activities that will include hands-on sculpting, scavenger hunts and tours.

The Kimball Art Center will be on site from noon – 4 p.m.

"They will build an ecosystem out of clay, and the public can come and build and sculpt their own things to add to the display," she said. "The clay will then be recycled at the end of the day."

Recycle Utah will lead a clean-up project on the Swaner Preserve from 10 – 11:30 a.m.

"Afterwards they will present a recycling and sorting demonstration with all of the trash they pick up so people will learn what can be recycled and what can't be recycled," Klingensmith said.

Staff from the Natural History Museum of Utah from Salt Lake City will take groups out onto the private area of the preserve at noon and 2 p.m. to train them on the use of iNaturalist, a smartphone app available on iOS and Android devices.

"The app collects observations of different animal species in the area, and they will teach people how to use it," Klingensmith explained. "The museum's staff will provide iPads and other electronic devices for people to use."

Swaner EcoCenter's Earth Day celebration will also include some treats, including smoothies.

"EATS Park City will bring their blender bikes, so people can make their own smoothies," Klingensmith said. Riders can use the pedals on the stationary bicycles to power a blender that creates smoothies.

The bikes will be in operation from 1 – 3 p.m., she said.

Also, Green Energy Advocates, who runs the Winter Green Market, will have a solar-powered generator set up in front of the EcoCenter.

"The public can check that out and try their solar power-charged batteries and different solar-powered appliances," Klingensmith said.

The EcoCenter will also offer interactive touch tables, kids' activities and nature-based crafts during the event.

"During the day we will be able to send people to our Wetland Discovery Trail, which is a gated trail," Klingensmith said. "We will give them the gate code so they can get in. And we'll have our nature scavenger hunts ready to go so kids can go look for things on the trail."

The EcoCenter's observation deck and boardwalk will also be open.

"The whole point of the celebration is to get people excited about nature and have an access point where they can start to learn about nature," Klingensmith said.

A week after Earth Day, Klingensmith said the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter will participate in the Natural History Museum's City Nature Challenge.

"That event will utilize the iNaturalist app," she said. "So people can get familiar with it on Sunday and use it the next week."

Registration is required for Birding Basics and registration can be done by visiting Swaner’s website.

Klingensmith said she would love to see people treat every day as Earth Day.

"This day is important to us because we're an environmental organization and we want to protect this Earth that means so much to us," Klingensmith. "We're happy and excited to celebrate it, and it's going to be a lot of fun."

An Earth Day celebration will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 22, at the Swaner EcoCenter, 1258 Center Drive at Kimball Junction. The event is free and open to the public, but donations will be accepted. For information, visit http://www.swanerecocenter.org.