CHICO — Holding endangered species puppets, families marched from the children’s park to City Plaza on Saturday morning to attend the Endangered Earth event.
Organized by the Butte Environmental Council, the event celebrates the 43rd annual endangered species fair.
Aaron Kunst is the chairman of the board of the Butte Environmental Council and launched the inaugural event to reach out to ecosystems under threat.
“The first time I went to the endangered species fair, I was 5 years old. My mom used to take me there and it was so much fun,” Kunst said. “So many species have gone extinct since then that now it’s not just the animals we love to observe and watch go extinct, but we’re now on that list. So really, it’s not just about endangered species, but really about all of us and how the Earth as a whole is in danger. Without quick action we will lose the things we love.
Locals learned from information booths from local groups including 530 Food Rescue, which coordinates food donations from restaurants, and Bidwell Wildlife Rehabilitation, which saves local species, including squirrels.
The live poetry was performed by poet Lucille Lang Day who read excerpts from a book she co-edited called “Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California.”
“Fire and rain shape all of California’s ecosystems. Species therefore need rain to develop. But before we had these catastrophic fires in California, fire was always a part of every Californian ecosystem,” Day said, citing species that have adapted to fire seasons and need fire to release seeds.
Children at Forest Ranch Charter School learned about their carbon footprint in the classroom and came up with an electric bus and school garden as part of a school project.
Ali Meders-Knight, Master Practitioner at Chico Traditional Ecological Knowledge, gave the keynote address for the Earth in Danger event. Midway through the speech, Meders-Knight reminded visitors that Butte Creek is California’s only remaining wild salmon trail.
With the vast majority of oak forests and wild riparian ecosystems removed in Butte County and, Meders-Knight called for a 50% restoration of these native habitats for hundreds of species.
“We need economic development and workforce development in this area. And the best way to do that is to get everyone on board in our forest and our riparia,” Meders-Knight said.