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Earth Day 2016: Build a garden box, save on energy

Activities in Forest Grove and beyond invite people to celebrate the planet


NEWS-TIMES FILE PHOTO - Paul Edwards, a member of the Forest Grove United Church of Christ, is preparing an area on the west side of the property for a Welcome Garden. Boxes will be built by volunteers this Friday, April 22, on Earth Day.Forest Grove is doing its part to observe Earth Day this weekend as the United Church of Christ invites community members to participate in the creation of a new Welcome Garden.

Church members and others will bring rakes, hoes and shovels to Main Street and get into the spirit of Earth Day’s 2016 theme, “Trees for the Earth.”

The garden box construction event is scheduled for Friday, April 22, starting at 9 a.m. and “may extend to Saturday if necessary,” according to organizer and church member Paul Edwards.

Four garden boxes — each one unique in order to accommodate people with different accessibility issues — are planned. Copies of the designs for the boxes, which will be built on the west side of the UCC’s Learning Community entrance, are available by calling the church office at 503-357-9121.

Those who want to help out have some choices.

“What can you do? Become a foreperson for one of the garden boxes (adopt a box) or team up with others to build a garden box,” said Edwards. “The various designs are not carved in stone,” he added, yet are tied to an already-acquired materials list.

Church members and volunteers have been working on a sprinkler system integral to the Welcome Garden, Edwards added. A special offering taken during a recent church service yielded $467 for the garden’s creation and the UCC also secured a $500 grant from the city of Forest Grove grant.

Oregon Department of Energy celebrates Earth Day

April 22 marks the 46th anniversary of Earth Day, and the Oregon Department of Energy is celebrating Earth Month and Earth Day with Oregonians across the state.

ODOE staff share information about energy efficiency and conservation year-round, but April offers extra visibility for how saving energy at home and work makes a big difference in our environment and community, officials said.

Representatives from across the agency will attend three events this month to talk about ODOE programs. Event visitors will learn ways to reduce their energy footprint and costs, find out how Oregon-grown potatoes can power an LED clock, enter to win a four-pack of LED light bulbs and sport a custom energy-inspired temporary tattoo.

Here’s a partial calendar of activities:

¦ Marion County Earth Day celebration April 23 — Catch ODOE Energy Analyst Roger Kainu’s presentation, “Does Your Home Perform, or Just Have Character?” Kainu will help visitors understand how to improve home energy efficiency and save money in the process. Learn about efficient heating and cooling systems, lighting options, indoor air quality, and more. The presentation begins at 2 p.m. in the OAN Room at the Oregon Garden.

¦ Wednesday, April 27, from 6 to 8 p.m. — Claggett Creek Watershed Council’s “Discover Your Watershed” event at the Keizer Civic Center, 930 Chemawa Road N.E. in Keizer.

“For more than 40 years, the Oregon Department of Energy has been leading the state to a sustainable energy future,” said ODOE Director Michael Kaplan. “We’re proud to join Oregonians in celebrating Earth Day every day.”

Kaplan added that there are several low-cost ways Oregonians can save energy and make a difference this Earth Day:

¦ Turn the thermostat down when you’re away and grab an extra blanket to warm up on cool spring nights.

¦ Turn your water heater down to 120 degrees or turn on an energy-saving mode.

¦ Replace old incandescent or most-used compact fluorescent lights with more energy-efficient LED bulbs.

¦ Purchase ENERGY STAR-rated appliances at home and at work.

¦ Unplug electronics when they’re not in use (including that computer and phone charger).

¦ Keep vehicles well-maintained and with properly-inflated tires to improve gas mileage.

¦ Research renewable energy options through local utility providers.

¦ Oregon homeowners, renters, nonprofits, and business owners investing in energy efficiency or renewable energy may be eligible for ODOE loans, grants, or tax credits. Visit oregon.gov/energy to learn more.