Thurston County Commissioners Honor Local Environmental Heroes at Earth Day Event

Procession of the Species founder Eli Sterling presents Commissioner Blake with his first “sparkle” parade pennant.


Submitted by Thurston County

Procession of the Species founder Eli Sterling presents Commissioner Blake with his first “sparkle” parade pennant.

Thurston County Commissioners today proclaimed Wednesday, April 22 to be Earth Day in Thurston County and celebrated the event with the fanfare, music and dancing that have become the hallmark of the county’s annual Earth Day recognition.

“Our Earth Day proclamation is our chance to thank the people in our community who really do the heavy lifting when it comes to protecting the environment,” said Commission Chair Cathy Wolfe. “There is no government, no institution that can accomplish our environmental protection goals alone. We need partners in the community just like the wonderful people who joined us here today. It’s great to see so many people in our community who embrace the environmental protection effort on Earth Day and every day of the year.”

Commissioner Bud Blake said, “I think it’s important to remember that protecting the environment is serious business. No matter where you live in Thurston County, you need clean water to drink, you need clean air to breathe, and you need clean soil and clean water to grow the food you eat every day.”

samba olywa
Thurston County Commissioners are photographed with members of SambaOlyWa.

“I always look forward to our annual Earth Day celebration—it’s so much fun and our guests always bring such spirit with them,” said Commissioner Sandra Romero. “This celebration is well-deserved in our community. Thanks to our partners and volunteers throughout the years, I think we can say we’ve truly accomplished a lot since the first Earth Day in 1970. That said, we know there’s so much more we can do to protect our air, our water, our forests and our prairies. But when we put community first, great things can happen.”

Wednesday’s Earth Day proclamation event included presentations from:

  • Eli Sterling, Director of Earthbound Productions and Founder of the Procession of the Species. Founded in 1995 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Earth Day, the Procession of the Species celebrates cultural connections between communities and the natural world each year with a parade in Olympia. This year’s Procession of the Species parade will be Saturday, April 25.
  • David Moseley and the music group Samba OlyWa. Samba OlyWa is an all-volunteer amateur group that performs music and dance in the South Sound. The group formed in 1995 as part of the Procession of the Species celebration, and performs annually at the parade along with other performances throughout the year. Samba OlyWa’s mission is to build community and honor the natural world through art, music and dance.
  • Jacqueline Freeman, owner of Friendly Haven Rise Farm, expert beekeeper and author of the book “The Song of Increase: Returning to Our Sacred Partnership with Honeybees.”
  • Laurie Pyne, President of the Olympia Beekeepers Association. Pyne has worked in the South Sound region to raise awareness about the harm certain pesticides like neonicotinoids can have on pollinators like bees, which can have a negative effect on the environment and the agricultural economy.
  • Josh Cummings, Thurston County’s Sustainability Coordinator. In honor of Earth Day this year, Thurston County employees will be participating in an “Earth Day Unplug” event. Employees in office spaces throughout the county will unplug personal use space heaters on Earth Day, which each cost the county about $400 annually to run. The energy savings from the Earth Day Unplug event will be calculated and presented to commissioners later this spring.

To view more pictures and video of today’s Earth Day celebration at the Board of County Commissioners meeting, visit the Thurston County Facebook page.

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