Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A glimpse of Northfield’s Earth Day Celebration April 26, 2022

A banner marks Northfield’s Earth Day Celebration at Bridge Square. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo April 2022)

WARM WEATHER, albeit wildly windy, drove Minnesotans outdoors on Saturday to embrace a partial-day reprieve from the cold and rain defining this April.

An overview of a section of the Earth Day Celebration. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo April 2022)

For Randy and me, that included a short drive to neighboring Northfield in the afternoon to check out the Earth Day Celebration at Bridge Square. I expected the event to draw a lot of locals and students from Carleton and St. Olaf Colleges. It did.

While the Earth Day Celebration happens behind them, these guys fish. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo April 2022)

In and surrounding Bridge Square, exhibitors shared information on topics ranging from climate change to water quality to composting to healthcare access and much more. Vendors from the Cannon Valley Farmers’ Market also set up shop. And kids created at several stations just a stone’s throw from fishermen angling in the Cannon River.

Near the river in Bridge Square, this temporary art installation focuses two messages: “NATIVE LIVES MATTER” and “CLIMATE JUSTICE.” (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo April 2022)

We mostly meandered, our stay cut short by raindrops. I zipped my camera inside my sweatshirt as we headed back to the van.

Bannering for a cause at the Earth Day Celebration. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo April 2022)

Yet, even during my brief time at Northfield’s April 23 Earth Day gathering, I felt the passion for taking care of this planet. Of being responsible stewards. Of engaging in conversation. Of doing our part.

A sign on the UPcycleMN tent grabbed my attention. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo April 2022)

It’s refreshing to see, especially when I observe all the exposed winter-tossed garbage along roadways and read about endangered Minnesota rivers, our shorter winters and so many other climate and environmental concerns.

An example of an upcycled blue jean jacket crafted by Kathryn Ness of UPcycleMN. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo 2022)

I delighted in meeting former Northfield librarian Kathryn Ness who identifies herself as “CEO & Head Scrounger” at UpcycleMN. Signage and jean jackets drew me to her vendor tent and a short conversation. She upcycles used jeans into “new” jean jackets, crafts cloth bags and more. Kathy reminds me of my Uncle Bob, who weaves old jeans, bedspreads and more into beautiful, durable rag rugs. They are artists who are doing their part for our earth while creating.

Bridge Square is often a canvas for chalk art, including during the Earth Day Celebration. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo April 2022)

Attending Earth Day in Northfield gives me hope. Hope because people care about this earth, this place we call home.

TELL ME: Did you attend an Earth Day celebration?

Please check back for additional posts that focus on UPcycleMN and on the temporary art installation.

© Copyright 2022 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


12 Responses to “A glimpse of Northfield’s Earth Day Celebration”

  1. beth Says:

    What a wonderful way to celebrate the earth and to remind people how important it is to take action to save it

  2. Ruth Says:

    While cleaning up for my family coming to visit, I made two appointments with our Creative Reuse center to take lots of craft supplies that can be reused. Responsible steward is a wonderful thing to be. By the way, that sky in your photo looks magnificent.

    • A Creative Reuse Center? That sounds like a great idea. I’m sure your local center will appreciate your donations.

      It is a rather moody sky. I never thought of it in the term “magnificent.” But now that you used that word, I see your interpretation.

  3. I enjoy the learning and educating on the ways one can be kinder to our environment. Just to hear as well as see what others are doing. It makes you think if you can change certain things that will make an impact. From all types of recycling/upcycling to gardening and growing your own food to water and energy consumption, etc. I love the community I live in educates us throughout the year on how and what to recycle, water and energy consumption and what it means to plant a tree in your yard and what not to put down storm drains, etc. I believe every little bit helps. Thanks for sharing – Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

  4. That’s a great idea to re-use old jeans. I have a pile of jeans that I would like to turn into a quilt top someday.

    • That will make for one sturdy quilt. I have a denim (recycled jeans) quilted throw that was gifted to me a few years back. It has a fleece backing and is the warmest blanket, perfect for our cold Minnesota winters.

  5. Valerie Says:

    We missed our Northfield’s earth day celebration. We remember the very first Earth Day, back in the 70’s.
    I had a pair of earth shoes but I’m not sure what that meant. HA
    I’m grateful for people who educate us in ways to care for our precious earth.

  6. Love the sign about the plastic bags!!! I really hate them! Find them everywhere when I am hiking and kayaking in the states. I say ban them! They are made out of fossil fuels or corn that could feed humans or animals. Have it make an up cycle reusable bag. Anyway… good to know MN (at least Northfield) is taking on the climate and Earth issues with local solutions.
    I loved the men fishing picture… I could almost hear them talking about how nice it was to be fishing while their wives were at the Earth Day Fair.😂🤣 stay safe.

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