Environmental Education

A Healthier Future With Butte Environmental Council…

A lot has changed in the four-plus decades since the Butte Environmental Council started the first multi-use curbside recycling service in Butte County, several years ahead of municipal recycling programs. This kind of proactive and visionary community involvement exemplifies the council’s mission to protect and defend the region’s land, air and water through action, advocacy and education. What has not changed with the passage of time, however, is the continuing need for sustainable, community-centered environmental education and action. Regional strategic partners fund several of the council’s education programs. Designed to have a far reach and lasting impact, programs highlight the ways multi-generational communities can support a healthier environment.

One of the most notable is the Butte County-funded Recycling and Rubbish Education Program, which educates community members county-wide about solid waste mitigation through the 4Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot (compost).

Recycling and Rubbish Education workshop facilitators travel with mobile educational materials to more than 45 classrooms and at least six public outreach events annually. Currently, workshops are available in person (following COVID-19 protocols) or virtually and include downloadable activity guides, videos, crafts and upcycled projects.

The City of Chico and CAL FIRE have also partnered with Butte Environmental Council on a three-year urban forest tree-planting campaign with the goal of increasing Chico’s urban forest by 700 trees before March 2022.

Butte Environmental Council reports that more than 6,000 vacant tree sites exist within the city, and invites Chico residents to check its online eligibility map before registering to receive one of 50 free trees during the organization’s community planting on November 13. Important benefits of tree planting include carbon dioxide emission reduction, water conservation, shade and energy cost mitigation, and increased wildlife and plant diversity.

The organization’s educational and advocacy efforts seamlessly intersect with annual events designed for community fun and engagement. The Endangered Species Faire, held virtually this past May, marked its 42nd year by offering attendees online workshops and presentations on topics ranging from birds within the region to fish and fire at the Butte Creek Ecological Preserve. It culminated in a virtual Procession of Species puppet parade rather than the usual live educational exhibits, music, rescued animal show and giant-sized puppet parade.

On September 18 and 19, 500 community volunteers will join forces for the 34th Annual Bidwell Park and Chico Creeks Cleanup, a Butte Environmental Council legacy event with organizational support from the City of Chico, Butte County and the Great Sierra River Cleanup. Created to improve the health of local creeks and channels within the Sacramento Watershed, last year’s event volunteers removed 21.48 tons of trash, recyclables, scrap metal and hazardous waste – the largest cleanup in the council’s history. The event raised $15,650 to support its work.

Volunteers and interns contribute across the organization, and the council even offers a court-ordered community service program with the Humboldt Community Garden. Membership in the Butte Environmental Council supports its essential projects, including tree planting, creek restoration, community education and habitat protection. •

Butte Environmental • (530) 891-6424

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