Pleasanton is joining the country on Earth Day today with environmentally conscious activities such as youth education, creek cleanups and a bicycle workshop scheduled in and around the city.
The national observance began in 1970 as a movement to preserve the Earth's resources, and it continues to be recognized by billions of people worldwide today, striving to maintain a clean and thriving environment.
Pleasanton finds itself in the Earth Day spirit as well, with environmentally conscious activities such as youth education, creek cleanups and a bicycle workshop scheduled in and around the city this weekend and through the month.
"Since it began nearly 50 years ago, Earth Day has become an important day for all of us because it gives us a chance to reflect on what we're doing to develop more sustainable, environmentally friendly practices in our cities throughout the country," Mayor Jerry Thorne said.
"In Pleasanton, we have been focusing a lot of our efforts on the drought and how to effectively manage this challenge going forward in ways that give us more local control over our water and are environmentally responsible at the same time," he added.
Foothill High sophomore Rachel Mundaden concurs.
"Earth Day is a chance to educate the youth of our community and bring information to teach their parents about all the ways they can help save the planet," said Mundaden, who will lead an Eco Expo today in the Donlon Elementary multipurpose room. "If families can work together to help this cause, I believe this can make a huge difference."
The Eco Expo is part of Mundaden's Gold Award Project for Girl Scouts, and its goals are "raising youth awareness about climate change and teaching kids that they can make a difference and preserve planet Earth," she said.
The event will feature an animated video explaining the basics of climate change, a "bike blender" in which kids will pedal on a bike to power a blender to make smoothies in a renewable-energy lesson and a compost station where participants can put on gloves and dig through a compost bin to see what does and doesn't belong in the bin.
The Zone 7 Water Agency donated coloring books to the event to educate participants about water conservation, and Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) is set to be the guest speaker, Mundaden said.
The free Eco Expo, open to Donlon fourth- and fifth-graders, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at the campus.
Earth Day participants also have an opportunity to get their exercise in and learn to travel safely in an eco-friendly way.
The Bike East Bay organization is hosting a free, family cycling workshop event tomorrow at Pleasanton Middle School.
The group's certified instructors will lead participants in safety drills, fun games, skills building, a neighborhood ride and offer free bike repairs from the "Alameda County Bikemobile."
The workshop is geared primarily toward parents and their children in second through sixth grade. Participants must bring their own bike and helmet and be prepared to ride on various bike paths.
The environmentally conscious event will include instruction on communicating with other road users, navigating safely through intersections, fitting a helmet and performing a bike safety check.
Bike teeter-totters will be available for children, and all participants can sample bike-powered fruit smoothies. Children who attend the event will receive a free reflective vest; they must be accompanied by an adult.
Bike East Bay's cycling workshop is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Pleasanton Middle School, 5001 Case Ave.
Other local Earth Day events include:
* April 29, 3:30-5:30 p.m. -- "Earth Day Clean-Up" at the Bernal Community Park in Pleasanton. Alviso Adobe staff and local community volunteers will pick up trash at the creek.
* All month -- The city's Community Services Department is accepting applications from city residents to take part in its community garden at Val Vista Community Park. Seven large and two small patches are available for rent on a first-come, first-served basis.
* This weekend -- The Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association is hosting "Down to Earth" weekend with eco-focused classes, walks and talks through Sunday, with wineries across the region highlighting the sustainable wine-growing and wine-making practices they use.
* April 30, 8 a.m. to noon -- "Creek Clean Up" is part of Dublin Pride Week at Emerald Glen Park, 4201 Central Pkwy.