Valley Center CA- Everyone gathered in the great Indian Health Council, Inc. (IHC) Rincon clinic outdoors on April 17, 2014: babes in arms, happy kids, excited teenagers, parents, grandparents and of course – it was “her” day, after all – Mother Earth! IHC’s 2014 “Celebrate Mother Earth & Earth Day 2K Run” was presented by the Prevention & Early Intervention (PEI) program funded by County of San Diego Agreement #528301.
The “Grounded in Culture and Care” theme was reflected inside the tent, at the booths and in the presentations. Many Tribal environment departments provided information and giveaways on how to protect and preserve precious resources such as clean water and air. IHC-staffed booths demonstrated how to protect and preserve another important precious resource: one’s health.
Recycled paper hat-making, health wheel challenges (including “twerking” – performing at least 20 sit-to-stands in 30 seconds) and other interactive activities kept the energy level high. Relay races were enjoyed by individuals, teams and elder groups such as the perennial award-winning Rincon Roadrunners. A healthy Subway lunch fortified guests as they took a journey to “Empowering Native Wellness.” With passport in hand, they visited each booth and completed a survey to be eligible for great raffle prizes.
Are You Doing Your Part?
Integral to the celebration were insightful and inspiring presentations, ably emceed by PEI’s George Pojas. Chris Devers got the day off to a motivating start by asking people, “Think about what you can do for the Earth, not just today, but every day. With water shortages, pollution and other problems here on our reservations and around the globe, we need to make sure we are doing enough for generations to come. Ask yourself, “Am I doing my part?”
Doing her part was five-year-old Paaila Rivas of Rincon. She said, “We take care of the earth to help us live. I planted a watermelon today!” Also planting seeds of environmental awareness were 15 bouncy kids ages three to five from the Rincon Community Child Development Center. They learned a lot through hands-on activities. “Look,” said Nico Lyons. “I made a rock friend!”
Throughout the event, participants greeted old acquaintances and made new friends while renewing their strong commitment to our planet’s most important friend: Mother Earth.