Planetary alignment

“How do GMOs affect our children, the health of our planet and our freedom of choice?" asks local filmmaker Jeremy Seifert in his documentary, GMO OMG.

Earth Week events around Western North Carolina

Save the shrews, celebrate the trees, take in a film and clean up a stream or two. For more ideas, visit Calendar and

Climate change talk at Warren Wilson College — Everyone knows what planktonic foraminifera is, right? Still, a little refresher from a Smithsonian scientist never hurts. Get educated at Brian T. Huber’s talk at Warren Wilson College about these tiny oceanic organisms and what they can tell us about climate change. From the press release: “Planktonic foraminifera are unicellular organisms that live in the upper zone of the ocean. … When they die, they settle to the bottom of the ocean. Huber does research on what they can tell us about how Earth’s environment has changed during the past 120 million years.” Thursday, April 17, at 7 p.m. in the Canon Lounge of Warren Wilson’s Gladfelter Student Center.

Earth Day jam invitational — Looking for some evening Earth Day tunes? Head over to the inaugural Jam Invitational for a lineup of improv music sure to continue late into the night. Performers include Grammy-winning percussionist Count M’Butu (The Derek Trucks Band); Grant Green Jr., the son of famed Blue Note guitarist Grant Green; drummer Sean Mason (Zansa); trumpet player Craig Sorrells (The Works); keyboardist Justin Powell (The Mantras and Vertigo Jazz Project); sax player Greg Hollowell (Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band); bassist Taylor Lee (Jeff Sipe Trio) and banjo player Hank Smith (The Morning After and Blu-Bop). The musicians convene at The One Stop on Saturday, April 19, at 9 p.m. $5.

GMO OMG film screeningGMO OMG director, concerned father and Asheville local Jeremy Seifert is in search of answers, and his questions might be ones you’ve asked: “How do GMOs affect our children, the health of our planet and our freedom of choice?” And perhaps the ultimate question, which Seifert tests himself: Is it possible to reject the food system currently in place, or have we lost something we can’t gain back? The director will share his findings at a film screening of his documentary, GMO OMG, followed by a Q&A session and panel discussion with local organic experts. Proceeds benefit the spread of organic education in our region. Screening takes place at Asheville Community Theatre on Tuesday, April 22, at 7:15 p.m. $11/$13.

The South Slope and Save the Town Branch Cleanup — Meet at Twin Leaf Brewing to gear up (machetes, shovels and water boots will be provided by Asheville GreenWorks) and head over to the South Slope and Town Branch Stream. Organizers encourage volunteers to bring a change of clothes. Water and snacks will be provided by Earth Fare. Roll your sleeves up on Tuesday, April 22, 5-7 p.m.

RiverLink Cleanup — The folks at RiverLink celebrate Earth Day all year round. This year, the conservation group celebrates its favorite holiday with two different service projects in Ross Creek: applying storm drain stencils and a creek cleanup. Organizers remind volunteers to wear boots and clothes they don’t mind getting dirty. Tuesday, April 22, 3-5 p.m.

Earth Week at the Highlands Biological Station — This year the Highlands Biological Station is offering three ways to celebrate.
• At an Earth Day of Service, volunteers can get their hands dirty in the botanical garden — weeding, pruning and the like  —  in exchange for lunch. No experience necessary. Saturday, April 19, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Call 526-0188 or email to sign up.
• Save the shrews: It’s true. The shrews need your help, and on Earth Day, who are you to deny them? “Bottles discarded along roadways have been recognized as a cause of small-mammal deaths since the 1960s,” says  press release. “Each year, many such animals enter bottles in search of food or water and become entrapped, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of animals over time.” Highlands Nature Center director Patrick Brannon will present a talk on the subject at the center on Tuesday, April 22, at 7 p.m.
• Celebrate Arbor Day at the Botanical Garden with a Living with Trees garden tour. In the spirit of Arbor Day, visitors will leave with a native tree to take home and plant. Friday, April 25, 3-4 p.m. Contact Ezra Gardiner 526-0188 or to sign up.

My Toxic Backyard film screening — It took local filmmaker Katie Damien five years to complete her documentary, My Toxic Backyard. The film is about the South Asheville community living around an old CTS Superfund site and the ongoing struggle to get clean, safe drinking water as the contaminated soil of the old manufacturing plant continues leaking dangerous toxins into the ground 20 years after the threat was first reported to the Environmental Protection Agency. The film premieres at Fine Arts Theatre on Thursday, May 8, at 7 p.m. and will continue to screen through that weekend. $7.50 matinees/$9.75 regular showings.

About Lea McLellan
Lea McLellan is a freelance writer who likes to write stories about music, art, food, wellness and interesting locals doing interesting things.

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