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Draw, eat and run for the Earth


The logo for the Race Against Extinction worldwide challenge

Two years ago on this very blog, I ranted about the preponderance of Earth Day celebrations that encouraged consumerism, and the coincidental dearth of activities that actually made a difference — too much problem, not enough solution. It’s fitting, then, that I acknowledge apparent progress made in that regard, as this year’s calendar is full of things to do (rather than just buy). Following are a few of my favorites.​

  • Through yesterday, Clark County sixth through 12th graders submitted entries to the Regional Transportations Commission’s Earth Day Art Contest. The winning artwork — encouraging the public to bike, carpool, walk or, of course, take public transportation — will appear on buses for up to a year. Winners will be announced and buses wrapped by mid-May.


  • The official Earth Day is Friday, April 22, and that’s when the sensationally named Race Against Extinction starts. This worldwide, eight-day challenge raises awareness of threatened and endangered species by inviting people to sign up for an activity, from walking (stroller optional) to kayaking, with hiking, paddling and swimming in between. The $25 registration fee goes to the World Wildlife Fund.


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  • Also on the Friday holiday, Crestwood Elementary School will host a pancake breakfast and ribbon-cutting for its new outdoor learning area and apple orchard. During February, students and parents from the school joined teachers and community sponsors to turn a lawn-like part of campus into an open-air classroom, a change that’s expected to conserve 198,000 gallons of water per year.


  • In a related event, Hearthstone Kitchen & Cellar is hosting a fundraiser for Green Our Planet, which puts outdoor gardens in CCSD schools. The party, 5-7 p.m. Friday, includes drinks and appetizers along with live music — all free. Proceeds from an Earth Day-inspired menu will go to the nonprofit. RSVP here.


  • Also Friday evening, Border Grill teaches people how to eat in a more eco-friendly way. For $49, from 6-8 p.m. at the restaurant’s Mandalay Bay location, diners can enjoy a meal made with seasonal produce from local growers. If morel and pea paella and duck pastrami with radiccio kraut don’t do it for you, maybe the bottomless bloody marys and margaritas will. Get tickets here.


  • On Saturday, April 23, the Green Alliance and Republic Services are going all out for the seventh installment of GreenFest, starting with an 8 a.m. procession of electric, hybrid and compressed natural gas vehicles going from Las Vegas Cyclery to Downtown Summerlin, where a daylong festival takes place. More than 150 exhibitors will have booths on the shopping center lawn to teach visitors how to green up their lives. A similar festival, called Sustainable, happens both Friday and Saturday at Town Square shopping center. During this event, the City of Las Vegas will reveal who won its Earth Day Every Day Youth Art Contest. The top three submissions in each age category will win cash prizes for the artists and their teachers.


  • Finally (self-promotion alert!), Nevada Public Radio is holding its semiannual Recycle Day from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. We'll take everything from old magazines and confidential paperwork for shredding, to outdated cellphones and computers for safe disposal, to old furniture and gently used clothing for reuse. Law enforcement will also be on hand to accept prescription medications. More details are on our events page.

Updated April 22, 2016.

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Desert Companion welcomed Heidi Kyser as staff writer in January 2014. In 2018, she was promoted to senior writer and producer, working for both DC and State of Nevada. She produced KNPR’s first podcast, the Edward R. Murrow Regional Award-winning Native Nevada, in 2020. The following year, she returned her focus full-time to Desert Companion, becoming Deputy Editor, which meant she was next in line to take over when longtime editor Andrew Kiraly left in July 2022.