OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — Recycling, taking short showers and picking up litter are just a few ways Harvey Denkin helps protect the environment.
“(The environment) is what it’s all about,” the Alpine Meadows resident said. “The clarity of the lake, the clean air. That’s the whole show.”
Millions of people visit the area to recreate on the famed clear waters of Lake Tahoe; ski and ride the surrounding mountains; and hike, bike and camp in area forestland.
Because nature plays such a big role at Truckee and Lake Tahoe, protecting it is key, said Kelsey Poole, an AmericCorp member with UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center.
“It’s important for the economy, but it’s also important just to have (Lake Tahoe) clean,” she said. “It’s such a beautiful lake. It’s such a unique place, and so we want to keep it that way.”
And everybody can help in its protection, said Nikki Riley, board president for Mountain Area Preservation.
“I think everyone has a role to play in some capacity,” she said. “Finding that and doing your part — even if it’s just picking up trash, picking up after your dog or trying to drive less — they’re all pieces that I think tie into lowering our impact.”
These individuals and hundreds more were on hand at Saturday’s Tahoe Truckee Earth Day Celebration in Squaw Valley, helping celebrate and promote the region’s unique beauty while educating the public on how to preserve and protect it.
Organizations such as MAP, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the BEAR League were at the community sponsored event, where several activities and events were geared toward youth.
“They have a huge role to play, and I think it further reinforces our responsibility to educate them and bring them along and get them involved,” Riley said.
The annual Truckee High School Envirolution Club’s Trashion Show drew a large crowd, as did EarthCapades, a series of environmental presentations that incorporate tricks and magic.
“One thing I want to point out is I really feel like that we need to stop bagging the planet,” said David “Hearty” Heartlife, co-director and performer of EarthCapades, drawing claps and whistles from adults in the crowd. “... I want this problem to disappear.”
Starting June 1, Truckee’s plastic bag ban goes into effect, which outlaws most disposable plastic bags, while requiring retailers to charge a minimum 10-cent fee per recycled paper or reusable bag at check out.
It’s a change Truckee resident Tiffany Jones welcomes.
“Every time I go into Safeway, I can’t get over how everyone walks out with a plastic bags,” she said. “I think it’s going to make such a big difference, and hopefully, it will be an inspiration for other towns around.”
Jones said her family uses reusable bags among other practices to protect the environment.
“It makes you feel good when you know you’re conscious of it and being proactive,” she said.
Incorporating such practices into one’s daily life isn’t difficult, Denkin said.
“It’s real easy,” he said. “… It’s just a way of changing habits and practices.”