Sharing, sustainability celebrated at Mount Shasta Earth Day celebration

Skye Kinkade
It was a beautiful day to celebrate Mother Earth on Saturday, April 21, when the temperature reached 82 degrees in?Mount Shasta. During the morning parade, which stretched from Berryvale to the Mount Shasta City Park, things were a bit cooler.

Paper packets were opened, and small seeds in a variety of shapes and colors were poured into palms for further inspection and wonderment.

Each seed has the potential to become a mature plant, provide sustenance, and then create more seeds to complete the cycle, said Lorraine Ramshaw of the Mount Shasta Garden Club, who has a dream to create a local seed library in South Siskiyou County.

Ramshaw was one of many who shared smiles and knowledge in honor of Earth Day Saturday at Mount Shasta City Park.

Inside the Main Lodge amid smells of coconut curry and hempseed dressing drizzled over organic greens, Thom Wick explained the goal of Shasta Commons as he manned their booth.

“We’re about creating a more sustainable community through networking,” Wick said. As one of nine members of the Shasta Commons “core group,” Wick said the organization is about coming together and sharing ideas, but doesn’t have a single goal. Instead, they meet to share concerns and work out from there.

“Right now, there are a number of action groups going,” said Wick. Examples include a harvest dinner, where people can learn sustainable food production; the Land Trust Garden Share; “Gleaners,” a group that helps people harvest their bounty; the Backyard Beekeeping Guild; the Traders Co-op and the Mount Shasta Time Bank.

Daisies from Girl Scout Troop 70120 shared seedlings they planted, and the Siskiyou Arts Bus showed kids how to recycle items to make cool works of art.

Winners of the Youth Recycled Sculpture Contest were “Chick my World,” by Caya Layman, “Clean Up our World,” by Tamsen Kortesmaki, and “Tree of Life,” by Zach Pfeiffer.

Wildlife biologist Julian Colescott was a hit with youngsters curious to know more about the dozens of animal skulls, antlers and other bones he had displayed at his table.

“This is a hobby of mine,” said Colescott as he showed children the difference between the teeth of carnivores, omnivores and herbivores. “I know a lot about animals and their physiology, and it’s interesting to share it with others.”

Save the Rain sold jewelry made by women from Tanzania who are part of their Women’s Water Initiative while handing out literature telling of their mission to build water catchment systems on every school in Tanzania.

Volunteers from the Label GMO movement asked registered voters to sign a petition to get a measure on the November ballot.

In the Lower Lodge, participants were invited to learn more about the local community at several workshops, including “Writing the New Story” with Sherry Ackerman, “A Panther Meadows Diary” a film by DG Balazs, “Earth, Water and Fire: Tools of the Trade in Bioregional Landscape Planning by Dr. Lee Benda, and “Listening to the Mountain” to wrap up the day.

Saving seeds

Seeds from a variety of melons, squashes, corn, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, eggplants, herbs and beans were up for grabs to those interested in learning how to save seeds, said Ramshaw.

She purchased the “genetically pure” seeds from Cook’s Garden and the Seed Saver’s Exchange. Because they were hand pollinated, Ramshaw said those who are growing the seeds know they are genetically authentic. Heirloom seeds from local growers are also welcomed.

By saving seeds over time, the plants become stronger and heartier, explained Ramshaw.

Anyone who is interested in participating in the seed exchange and hand pollinating, or who may have advice or knowledge on different varieties of seeds that grow well in the South Siskiyou climate, are asked to email Jane Seeley of the Mount Shasta Garden Club at

Savannah and Ella Lauer of Mount Shasta were all grins after they got their faces painted at the Earth Day celebration at the Mount Shasta City Park on Saturday, April 21.