Businesses, government agencies and residents come together to celebrate Earth Day

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The theme of Earth Day 2012 was “Mobilize the Earth.” Organizers encouraged participants around the globe to attend a local event or start one.“Together we will stand united for a sustainable future and call upon individuals, organizations, and governments to do their part,” the Earth Day website states.

Locally, the call to action was answered.

On Friday, the Port of Camas-Washougal organized a beach cleanup at Capt. William Clark Park. In Camas, downtown merchants, local students and faith groups got together to beautify the area on Sunday.“As we come out of this great recession, budgets have been cut for maintenance like this, so we decided to step up,” said Greg Goforth, a local Realtor and member of the Downtown Camas Association. “The DCA is interested in preserving the community and it’s a perfect tie-in to Earth Day.”

It was a community-wide effort, with local businesses Lutz Hardware and LJC Feed donating supplies, while Journey Community Church provided hotdogs, chips and soda for hungry volunteers.

The work included sidewalk and landscape clean-up, weeding,planting and spreading bark dust, as well as pressure washing.

“It is great to have so much support,” Goforth said. “It’s nice to see so many people caring about their community.”

Marilyn Boerke, Liberty Middle School principal, attended the event with several of her students.

“This is a chance for the kids to give back and be a part of a great community and school-wide effort,” she said. “This teaches them about being responsible citizens and taking care of the place they live, looking outside themselves.”

Seventh-graders Nkem Day and Claire Martin-Tellis agreed.

“I really wanted to do something for the community,” Day said.

“I came out today because Camas deserves to look nice and not to have weeds everywhere,” Martin-Tellis said.

Added seventh-grader Hana Rabbani, “Camas is a really pretty town and deserves to be even more beautiful.”

It was the third annual beach cleanup the Port has led in Washougal.

“We want to help keep our public recreation areas clean,” said Jack Hardy, Port communications director. “It’s great to see people out there taking ownership and realizing how it impacts their community.”

Port employee Jeramy Wilcox participated in the effort.

“I like to support the community and keep things clean,” he said.

The Washougal High School Interact Club was on hand to volunteer.

“We did it last year and it was a total blast,” said junior Elizabeth Price, club vice-president. “We found tons of wire and an old wash basin that weighed about 40 pounds. We couldn’t even lift it.”

It was the first time participating in the cleanup for junior Alli Webb.

“I like just knowing that I’m helping the community,” she said.

Other Clark County area events, both held on Sunday, included a DIY Fair at Clark College and free tire and appliance recycling in Skamania County.