Business / Economy

First annual Earth Day celebration sprouts in San Benito County

Local groups share a message of sustainability.
San Benito County Supervisor Mark Medina with some of the winners of the art poster contest.
How much water it takes to produce bread, eggs, apples and burgers.
Gabriel Torres with daughter Emily with her tote bag made from a pajama top.
A solar phone charger.

On a windy, overcast Saturday afternoon, the first annual San Benito County Earth Day celebration drew around 500 visitors to Veterans Memorial Park.

On April 20, two days before the official Earth Day, local organizations came to inform the public on how to live sustainably and take better care of the planet. Hosted by San Benito County Integrated Waste Management, participating groups included Recology, RJR Recycling, Water Resources Association of San Benito County, Wildlife Emergency Services, Independent Recycling Services, San Benito Arts Council, Aromas Progressive Action League, San Benito County Chamber of Commerce, Hollister Police Department, Credo Studio, R.E.A.C.H San Benito Parks Foundation and Coke Farms.

“Sustainability is a journey,” said Celina Stotler, a green business specialist with Integrated Waste Management. At the celebration, she presented members of Boy Scout Troop 436 with certification for their sustainability merit badge, a requirement for moving up to Eagle Scout status. Troop leader John Morin said he was proud of the members for recognizing the need for sustainability. Scouts who received badges included Chase Cederquist, Andrew Hubbard, Jacques Morin, Dwain Robinson, Ethan Robinson, Giovanni Stofler, Noal Swanton and Lukas Zanger. For information on the sustainability merit badge, see the PDF at the bottom of the article.

Water conservation is a sustainability concern facing the county. Shawn Novack, a program manager with the Water Resources Association of San Benito County, teamed up with teacher Susan Bessette to advise on water conservation. They also handed out shower timers to those who wanted them.

Jane Rekedal of the Aromas Progress Action League said the group attended the Earth Day celebration to discuss the importance of renewable energy.

“Our goal is to make San Juan and Aromas 100% renewable energy,” Rekedal said.

Hollister resident Josie Cruz told BenitoLink she was interested in waste management. Her daughter Janessa, 10, and friend Ella Castaneda, nine, said they were happy to learn more about the different types of refuse bins. Resident Gabriel Torres left the event with a used oil container to give to his neighbor, while his six-year-old daughter Emily said she “learned how to turn shirts into bags.” She sported a reusable tote bag made from a pajama top.

San Benito County Supervisor Mark Medina named 15 winners of an art poster contest sponsored by Recology and the San Benito Arts Council. Winners will have their environmentally themed artwork displayed on the sides of Recology garbage and recycling trucks. Winners include Jayleen Arredondo, Isabella Bozzi, Mia D. Castro, Camila Chavez, Julian Delgadillo, Bridget Ferry, Lupe Gonzalez,  Aslin Mann, Christopher A. McGuire, Lourdes Rio, Heidi Rivera, Isabelle Slykas, Samantha Slykas, Elizabeth Starkweather and Jecely Vidalez.

“I entered the contest because I felt confident and like a good artist,” said fifth-grade winner Isabella Bozzi. “It’s a fun contest and it’s important to take care of the environment and the oceans! I feel proud that I am a winner! It’s going to feel amazing to see my work on the truck. It will feel like success.”



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Carmel de Bertaut

Carmel has a BA in Natural Sciences/Biodiversity Stewardship from San Jose State University and an AA in Communications Studies from West Valley Community College. She reports on science and the environment, arts and human interest pieces. Carmel has worked in the ecological and communication fields and is an avid creative writer and hiker. She has been reporting for BenitoLink since May, 2018 and covers Science and the Environment and Arts and Culture.