The Clark County Green Neighbors program will celebrate four years as a resource for environmentally-friendly living in Clark County at 1 p.m., Oct. 16 at the Water Resources Education Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way, Vancouver.
The program, developed and maintained by the Solid Waste and Environmental Outreach division of Clark County Public Health, offers a wealth of information and coordinates events with an environmentally-friendly focus. Now four years in, a celebration of the program featuring renowned writer and biologist Dr. Robert Michael Pyle will take place Sunday to help recognize the importance of green living in the county.
Green Neighbors, which is funded through the Washington Department of Ecology’s Coordinated Prevention Grant, has gone through some changes in the last few years, said Sally Fisher, Senior Environmental Outreach Specialist for Clark County Public Health and coordinator of the program.
Fisher explained that initially the program took on a more social media-type aesthetic, with people setting up profiles. She said that the market for another Facebook page was saturated so the program evolved into becoming a valuable resource in keeping Clark County neighborhoods green.
“It’s really just about building community around the environment,” Fisher said about the program.
Finding ways to reduce waste, providing locations to get rid of hard-to-recycle items and information for those looking to start composting were some examples of Green Neighbors’ push to be a strong resource, she said. She added that the extensive calendar maintained by the program has numerous environmentally-minded events and activities both put on by the program and around the community.
The biggest event that Green Neighbors helps to put on is the Recycled Arts Festival that graces Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver every June, Fisher said, attracting people with works of art created using at least 70 percent recycled materials, according to the event’s website. Green Neighbors is also involved with master composter and recycler programs which host year-round workshops to provide education on such topics as vital resources to green living.
Green Neighbors also has a series of Recycling Day events where hard-to-recycle items like tires, block foam, scrap metal and e-waste (computers, TVs and cell phones among other electronics) can be dropped off during the events to promote good practices when it comes to those specific items.
Fisher said she was excited to have Dr. Pyle speak, remarking that the writer, biologist and occasional Bigfoot hunter is something of a “living legend” in the Pacific Northwest. Pyle has recently released a new book this month titled “Through a Green Lens: Fifty Years of Writing for Nature,” which Fisher said would likely be part of his talk.
She said that Pyle’s wide range of career highlights, which in a release from Vancouver’s Vintage Books store includes nature writing, founding the Xerces Society for Insect Conservation and of course his efforts in tracking Sasquatch, make his appearance “something for everybody.”
Another part of the festivities will have Green Neighbors getting involved with the Vancouver phenomenon “Vancouver ‘Rocks!’” as rocks specially painted in honor of the anniversary will be hidden around the city, Fisher said, hinting that successful rock-finders will get prizes.
Of course, no “birthday” celebration would be complete without cupcakes, which Fisher said would be available for attendees to eat.
Fisher said Green Neighbors’ goal is to keep up-to-date with environmental developments in the county. She said the program can be a first step for those looking to dive into the world of ecology-minded practices available in the area.
“If (residents) have any interest in the environment or how to, maybe, get involved in the community with like-minded people, it’s a great place to start,” Fisher remarked.