Think of this as a good day to say thank you to the planet.
Saturday is Earth Day, a simple idea that’s grown into the largest secular observance in the world. This year, Earth Day will be celebrated by more than 1 billion people in 192 countries.
Started in 1970, Earth Day came as a response to horrific oil spills off the coast of Santa Barbara. According to the Earth Day Network, then-Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin envisioned Earth Day as “a national teach-in on the environment,” focusing on air and water pollution. Mindful of college schedules, April 22 was chosen as Earth Day because it fell between Spring Break and final exams.
Now, almost a half-century later, Earth Day remains relevant. Mother Nature still needs some love.
Locally, Roseville will host its 10th annual Celebrate the Earth Festival on Saturday at Mahany Regional Park. Billed as the largest Earth Day event in Placer County, the family-friendly party is expected to draw more than 5,000 patrons from across the region with live entertainment, animal shows, hands-on demonstrations, green vendors and more.
The theme of this year’s Roseville celebration goes far beyond a one-day event. According to organizers, attendees will learn “how choices we make every day help to create a sustainable community all year long.”
The Roseville fest also showcases some of the many advances made in conservation since Earth Day began. Such innovations as solar energy, electric cars and drip irrigation now seem commonplace, but they help illustrate how sustainability can become a way of daily life.
Change doesn’t have to be expensive. Little things – such as recycling trash, mulching garden beds or riding a bike – can add up to big differences. Conservation becomes a habit. And as this festival reminds us, it even can be fun for all ages.
Banksia vs. banksiae
Reader Tony Dewey of Auburn sent in a reminder that Lady Banks is a not a Banksia.
Popularized during the 1800s, Lady Banks is a climbing rose, famous for its ability to reach huge proportions. The world’s largest rose bush (covering more than 9,000 square feet in Tombstone, Ariz.) is a Lady Banks. The bush climbing 60 feet up a pine tree in Sacramento’s Historic City Cemetery is also a Lady Banks.
Native to China, Lady Banks was introduced to England in 1807 after a plant hunting expedition funded by British naturalist Sir Joseph Banks. One of history’s most famous plant explorers, he sailed the Pacific with Captain James Cook and brought back to England living treasures from South America, Tahiti, Australia and New Zealand.
Banks is credited with popularizing such discovered plants as bougainvillea, eucalyptus and acacia. A whole genus of Proteaceae were named in his honor with about 170 species of Banksias.
Virtually thornless, Lady Banks roses are a homage to Banks’ wife, Dorothea. These roses often are referred to as “Banksia,” including a caption in the April 8 Home & Garden section. But as Dewey reminded us, that should be Rosa banksiae, not Banksia.
“Banksias are plants endemic to Australia and were named after Sir Joseph Banks,” he wrote. “The Lady Banks rose from China was named after his wife. Although people call them Banksia roses, that’s wrong.”
Lady Banks roses look nothing like Banksia flowers, which resemble protea and other exotic Australian blooms. It’s a reminder of how much history there can be in a flower name.
Celebrate the Earth Festival
What: This family-friendly Earth Day event features live entertainment, kids’ activities, animal shows, green vendors, local food trucks and much more.
Where: Mahany Regional Park, 1501 Pleasant Grove Blvd., Roseville
When: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, April 22