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Earth Day 2017 celebrated April 22 in west central Minnesota

Tribune file photo Earth Day 2016 is celebrated at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center. This year's event will be held Saturday, April 22, at PWELC near Spicer.

SPICER — The annual Earth Day Festival will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, April 22, at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center in rural Spicer.

The theme is "Water Connects," and begins with a pancake and sausage breakfast from 8 to 10 a.m. at no charge; however, donations are welcome.

Presentations and informational booths will feature urban and rural environmental practices and small steps to help make the planet healthier.

There will be a panel discussion at 9 a.m. about agricultural practices that maintain productivity while practicing good stewardship of land and water resources.

Many farmers are participating in the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification program, sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Certification specialist Grant Pearson of the Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District will give a short overview prior to the panel discussion.

The Minnesota Zoomobile program with live animals will begin at 10:30 a.m.

The Recycled Outdoor Gear sale will accept donations until the day of the sale; proceeds benefit Prairie Woods programs.

Among the attractions for kids and adults are arts and crafts, practice casting, DNR Laser Shot, birding, climbing wall, DNR fish tank, receive a free tree, or buy a rain barrel.

Equipment from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture will be available to test private well water samples for nitrate levels. All are welcome to bring a sample of their well water in a small, clean jar.

Prairie Woods is participating in the Worldwear project as a fundraiser. Bring your gently worn shoes to donate.

For more information contact: Mari Klebe, PWELC, at 320-354-5894 or visit the website

Recycling Center events

WILLMAR — The Kandiyohi County Recycling Center is observing Earth Day with two special events:

All week, April 17-22, a 5-cent bonus will be offered on aluminum cans brought to the center for recycling.

The spring Shred It! paper shredding will be from 10 a.m. to noon. Saturday, April 22, at the recycling center in partnership with West Central Shredding. It is free to area residents for up to 100 pounds of material. Hard drive and e-waste shredding will also be available.

Discover spring on the prairie at Upper Sioux Agency State Park nature hike

UPPER SIOUX — Enjoy a nature hike and witness the awakening of native prairie plants from their winter slumber at the Upper Sioux Agency State Park on Sunday, April 23.

The Friends for the Upper Sioux Agency State Park are hosting their annual meeting at the park's interpretive center at 1:30 p.m., followed by a nature hike at 2:30 p.m.

Families with children are encouraged to join the hike, which will follow the park's Valley View Trail. Refreshments and treats will be offered.

The annual meeting is an opportunity to learn about exciting plans for the park this year, according to Emily Albin, assistant park manager. Plans are in the works to upgrade horse trails in the park, develop a 30-acre prairie pollinator habitat area, and conduct prescribed burns to preserve and enhance native prairie in the park.

The Friends will also discuss current legislation for funding state parks and how park users can let their elected officials know their support.