First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day — held on Friday, April 22 — is one of the few nonreligious celebrations observed around the world. Nearly 200 countries have some kind of Earth Day commemoration. Western North Carolina is home to a number of Earth Day-related festivities and programs. Here’s a rundown of some of the most notable events. For more Earth Day happenings, visit the Community Calendar and mountainx.com.
• North Asheville Library Celebrates Earth Day — Asheville Greenworks staffer Christine Brown will be on hand to help kids make crafts from recycled items and talk about how to love the Earth. The free event takes place at the North Asheville Library, 1030 Merrimon Ave., on Friday, April 22, 4-5 p.m. avl.mx/2gr
• UNC Asheville “Bee Hotel” Construction Celebration: On Friday, April 22 at 11 a.m., UNC Asheville and Asheville Design Center will announce and celebrate their collaboration on the “Bee Hotel,” a new structure to be erected on campus. UNC Asheville is also celebrating its recent designation as a Bee Campus USA. Attendees at the celebration will receive pollinator-friendly plant seedlings. The announcement will take place in the pollinator garden on campus, visible from University Heights as you enter campus from the traffic circle on WT Weaver. unca.edu
• Third annual Earth Day Film — The Organic Growers School, Green Opportunities, Bountiful Cities and Asheville GreenWorks are all local partners in Asheville’s Urban Agriculture Alliance coming together to present this year’s film. Can You Dig This is a 2015 documentary that explores the “urban garden revolution” currently taking place in Los Angeles’ South Central district. The area is described as “one of the largest food deserts” in the U.S., and the gardening initiative — spearheaded in part by “gangster gardener” Ron Finley — aims to change that. A community discussion will follow the screening of the 80-minute film. Shown at the Lenoir-Rhyne Asheville Campus, 36 Montford Ave., on Friday, April 22, 5:30 p.m. (film starts at 6 p.m.) By donation at the door. avl.mx/2gs
• Climate Listening Project Earth Day Celebration — Celebrate Earth Day with French Broad Chocolates, Highland Brewing Company, and Sweet Monkey Bakery at a “thank-you” celebration for supporters and friends of the Climate Listening Project. The event will include a new short video, share updates from Climate Listening Project travels to Paris for the Climate Talks and Belize with Forsyth Audubon Society, and roll out the future of the project. The event takes place Friday, April 22, 5 p.m. at The Collider, 1 Haywood Street Suite 401, Asheville. Registration is required.
• Earth Day Pallet Party — The Eco Depot Marketplace (408 Depot St., No. 100), a brand-new River Arts District art space, is a mixed-use boutique with artist studios and display areas. It’s home to many local artists working with recycled materials. The focus of this free event is to showcase what artists can do using a wooden shipping pallet. Artists will be present to discuss their work, and food and drink are available for purchase. Visitors can bid on art as well. Organizers describe this event as a grand opening or hard-hat party, depending on the city’s permitting department. Held Friday, April 22, 5-9 p.m.
• Carolina Public Press Newsmakers Forum: Public Lands in WNC — The event will include breakfast and a panel discussion with Forest Supervisor, Allen Nicholas of the U.S. Forest Service and Ecoregion Supervisor Gordon Warburton of NC Wildlife Resources Commission. Their focus will be on the the challenges and opportunities facing the region’s public lands and open spaces. The forum is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are required. Those interested must sign up at carolinapublicpress.org. The event will be held at the United Way Building, in its 1st floor conference room at S. French Broad Ave., on Friday April 22, 8:30 a.m.
• Nahko and Medicine for the People: An Earth Day Celebration — Describing himself as “a citizen in service to the planet,” world music collective frontman Nahko Bear weaves his environmentally conscious lyrics into a modern and earnest hippie-folk style that’s sure to find a warm and receptive audience in Asheville. This concert kicks off the 2016 season for New Mountain’s outdoor amphitheater (38 N. French Broad Ave.). Kim Churchill opens the Friday, April 22, show at 7:30 p.m. $20/$25. newmountainavl.com
• Greening Up the Mountains — This annual spring festival takes place at Jackson Park in Sylva, an hour’s drive west of Asheville. Organizers describe the event as “a celebration of renewal, of revitalization and a time of reconnecting with friends, relatives and neighbors” after the long winter. A kids area will offer fun activities for youngsters, and two stages will host live, local music all day. Craft, retail, art and food vendors will be on hand. A shuttle service will provide rides between parking at the Justice Center and Jackson Park for $1 per boarding. Held Saturday, April 23, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. greeningupthemountains.com
• Earth Day Kids’ Festival — RiverLink hosts this festival sponsored by FLS Energy. The celebration, held at the RiverLink Sculpture and Performance Plaza (144 Riverside Drive), will feature games, crafts, live animals, a bouncy house, giant puppet performers, face painters, food trucks and much more. Many of WNC’s environmental organizations will be on hand to share news about their efforts and provide opportunities for getting involved. Saturday, April 23, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Free. avl.mx/2gw
• Earth Day at Chimney Rock — Chimney Rock State Park rangers, along with biologists and other environmental educators, will be on hand to showcase the work being done to protect WNC’s landscape. The booths are set up behind the Old Rock Café in Chimney Rock Village, so admission to the park is not required to visit the exhibits. Held at Chimney Rock Village on Saturday, April 23, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. chimneyrockpark.com
• Open House and Earth Day Celebration — Take part in a full day of activities hosted by the Sandy Mush Community Center, 9 School Road, Big Sandy Mush. Events kick off at 11:30 a.m. with a hot dog cookout fundraiser for the Sandy Mush 4-H Club, with desserts provided by the Mountain Lady Farm Youth Project. A garden market with crafts, a school book history project and more runs from noon to 6 p.m., followed by a community potluck. For info, email firstname.lastname@example.org
• Earth Day Vigil: “Let Justice Roll Down Like Waters” — The Creation Care Alliance of Western North Carolina is hosting a vigil celebrating Earth Day. The celebration will take place in the grass in front of the Cathedral of All Souls and will include an afternoon of song, reflection, a water ritual, refreshments and messages of inspiration and action from local faith and community leaders. Nazareth First Baptist Church and The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Asheville and Buncombe County will be accepting financial donations to help with the Flint water crisis. Sunday, April 24, 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of All Souls, 9 Swan St., Asheville.