Earth Day celebrated with science fair, march in Pendleton

Pendleton celebrated Earth Day on Saturday with a science fair and march at Roy Raley Park, featuring a number of community groups.
George Plaven

East Oregonian

Published on April 23, 2017 9:53AM

Staff photo by Kathy AneyHal McCune holds up a sign as he participates in the March for Science on Saturday morning in Pendleton.

Staff photo by Kathy AneyHal McCune holds up a sign as he participates in the March for Science on Saturday morning in Pendleton.

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Staff photo by Kathy Aney
Roughly 225 people took part in the March for Science on Saturday morning in Pendleton.

Staff photo by Kathy Aney Roughly 225 people took part in the March for Science on Saturday morning in Pendleton.

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Staff photo by Kathy AneyPhil Richersen, a groundwater expert from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, demonstrates to several children what happens when pollutants such as fertilizer and cow manure get into the ecosystem. The booth was part of a science fair at Roy Raley Park for the March for Science, one of about 600 pro-science rallies held in cities worldwide on Saturday in connection with Earth Day.

Staff photo by Kathy AneyPhil Richersen, a groundwater expert from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, demonstrates to several children what happens when pollutants such as fertilizer and cow manure get into the ecosystem. The booth was part of a science fair at Roy Raley Park for the March for Science, one of about 600 pro-science rallies held in cities worldwide on Saturday in connection with Earth Day.

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Coinciding with demonstrations in cities across the country, about 225 people gathered Saturday morning at Roy Raley Park in Pendleton to participate in a March for Science highlighting the importance of science in the local community.

Marchers carried signs down Court Avenue before returning in silence to the park along the Pendleton River Parkway. Andrea Mann, one of the event organizers, said the rally provided reflection on the value of Earth Day.

Though the national March for Science took on a largely political tone, with scientists and supporters protesting the policies of President Donald Trump on things like climate change and environmental protection, Mann said the Pendleton march was more about emphasizing the role of science in everyday life.

“Science has so much to do with everything we touch,” Mann said.

Back at the park, a community-wide science fair featured live music, food, informational displays and hands-on scientific experiments for kids. Casey Brown, who organized the fair, said they had 19 different booths and vendors, including Blue Mountain Community College, Oregon State University Extension Service, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and Pendleton FFA, among others.

“This is what makes a community stronger, when you come together and do things like this,” Brown said.

At the BMCC table, instructors led a number of kid-friendly projects — perhaps most noticeably two pig lungs attached to an air pump, showing the capacity of a pink healthy lung versus a black smoker’s lung.

Kristen Oja, a biology and general science instructor at BMCC, said getting involved in science allows children to begin uncovering mysteries all around them.

“It’s important for them to become interested, because there’s science is our everyday lives,” Oja said.

Representatives from Pendleton Parks & Recreation, the Pendleton Tree Commission and the Umatilla National Forest were also on hand giving away free seedling trees as part of the parks department’s “Pendleton Plant 1,000 Trees Initiative.” Available tree species included sugar pine, ponderosa pine, water birch and ninebark.

Both Brown and Mann said they heard positive feedback from the people who attended Saturday’s celebration. As an agricultural region, Brown re-emphasized that science and Eastern Oregon really do go hand in hand.

“Agriculture is a branch of science,” she said. “If you support agriculture, you support science, and vice versa. It’s the life blood of our area.”

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Contact George Plaven at gplaven@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0825.





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