Saving the Earth: Earth Day and Wildfire Expo feature real-time drill, free wildflower seeds
PRESCOTT - People will be able to watch an actual fire evacuation drill unfold Saturday during the annual Earth Day celebration and Wildfire Expo in Prescott.
And people who stop by the Arizona Native Plant Society booth can pick up free native wildflower seeds, courtesy of the Open Space Alliance that sponsors the Earth Day events.
The free events take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza, while the annual Granite Creek Cleanup takes place simultaneously from 9 to 11 a.m. along the city's waterways.
This is the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, which traditionally falls on April 22, and this year's theme is "It's Our Turn to Lead." See all the ways to celebrate Earth Day by going online to earthday.org, including a climate petition, classroom curriculum, a Billion Acts of Green, and the Canopy Project. More than one billion people participate in Earth Day activities each year.
The Yavapai County Jeep Posse's command and communications vehicle will be staffed with posse members participating in the Wildfire Expo's first wildfire drill with the Yavapai County Sheriff's Air Group (volunteer pilots) and the Verde Search & Rescue Posse. The volunteer Jeep Posse helps the Sheriff's Office evacuate people from oncoming wildfires.
"You can watch the activities in real time as the crew coordinates the Yavapai County Jeep Posse's response to the simulation of a fire situation," said Leigh Cosby, a citizen member of the Prescott Area Wildland Urban Interface Commission that puts on the Wildfire Expo.
More than 50 organizations will set up Earth Day booths Saturday for the first event of the season on the Courthouse Plaza, OSA member Nancy Hans said. They'll offer a wealth of free information about water and energy conservation, landscaping, community garden methods, organic foods, green building, recycling, and safe cleaning with organic materials. Wildfire Expo booths will feature information about how to protect your family and home from wildfires, including defensible space to evacuation techniques. Local citizens who helped create Firewise Communities will join fire experts to answer questions.
Live free entertainment and photos with Smokey Bear and Truckee the Giant Firemen will be part of the scene, too. Local firefighters will greet visitors to the new and antique fire trucks.
See earth-oriented gifts including bird houses, hand-crafted jewelry and rustic furniture at other booths on the plaza.
Volunteers can preregister for the Granite Creeks Cleanup by going to the Prescott Creeks website at prescottcreeks.org. Volunteers get free t-shirts, food and snacks.
Cleanup volunteers should meet at the Granite Creek Park along 6th Street at 9 a.m. to register and check in. Participants will be assigned to clean up along various creeks and lakes in the Upper Granite Creek Watershed.
After the cleanup, One Man's Treasure artists will demonstrate how to recycle, reuse and upscale the cleanup bounty.
The artists have plenty to choose from. Since 2007, more than 3,400 Granite Creek Cleanup volunteers have picked up more than 40 tons of trash from Prescott's nine creeks and four main lakes, organizers said.
Follow Joanna Dodder on Twitter @joannadodder
For info on PV colleges celebrating Earth Day, visit