Celebrating Earth



Time was when Earth Day in the United States was mostly marked by the K-12 crowd planting a tree on school property.

Forty years after its debut, the official Earth Day Network’s web-site posts 696 diverse community events across the county.

Of these, Earthfest Boulder might be mistaken for a long-time tradition, what with the emphasis on local faves such as outdoor sports, indie art and organic education.

But April 25 will mark only the second year since the event emerged — this year in Boulder’s Central Park — to raise participation in worldwide Earth Day celebrations.

“We’ve made some little improvements,” says event producer Scott Nichols. “It helps that there’s been an uptick in the economy.”

Event sponsors are up to 20 from last year’s dozen. The 40 vendors from ’09 are closer to 60 this time around. But the real draw for the public will be a truly something-for-everyone range of what organizers call “sustainability edutainment.”

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., there will be booths to shop for eco-conscious goods, goodies and information, recreation clinics, sustainable crafts, energy resource talks at a speakers’ tent, and live music performances at the park’s band shell.

One of the main attractions is Dirt Days, another range of activities for outdoor enthusiasts, from the would-be to the veteran, with the tagline: “Celebrate the world at your fingertips and its dirt in your hands.”

Dirt Days professionals will demonstrate gear and teach skills and outdoor savvy. A circuit of four “challenges” will be offered with coaching in climbing, fly fishing, pack trot and balance-challenge. Participants are invited to compete for prizes.

Dirt Days is offered by AdventureFilm.org, an international film festival dedicated to encouraging the best in indie adventure and environmental films.

The organization sprang from the original Boulder Adventure Film Festival, the 2004 brainchild of local

adventurer Jonny Copp. Copp’s life is the embodiment of the festival’s motto, “Make your own legends.” Born in Singapore in 1974, Copp’s work as a climber, photographer, videographer and writer has been featured in numerous magazines, books and movies.

Nichols, owner of All Phases Event Group, met Copp in January 2009 while stoking his own idea for a Boulder-based Earth Day-related event.

“Turned out we had a lot of mutual friends who knew we were both interested in doing something like this and said, ‘You two should meet.’ So one day we met for coffee,” Nichols says.

From that meeting they grew a vision of an event held in multiple Western-state cities. Earthfest Boulder ’09 was pulled off at a cost of $23,000, about what the current cost is, says Nichols. But its promising future was overshadowed by the death of Copp the following May.

Copp and two other climbers from Boulder, Micah Dash and Wade Johnson, were killed in a mountain avalanche in western China.

“I felt blessed to have known Jonny as long as I did,” says Nichols. “His death was a challenge for me. I asked his business partner, Mark Reiner, to take over in his place, and Mark jumped right in.”

The vision continues, and Nichols says plans are for profits from Earthfest Boulder to go to area nonprofit organizations with an environmental/sustainability focus.

For more information about Earthfest Boulder, including an event schedule, go to www.earthfestboulder.net.

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