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Takes a Village 

An Earth Day roundup for the ecologically and artistically minded

click to enlarge SWAMP TOUR The Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation debuts its Laguna Discovery Trail this weekend.
  • SWAMP TOUR The Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation debuts its Laguna Discovery Trail this weekend.

It's no surprise that when Earth Day comes around—this time falling on Friday, April 22—North Bay activists committed to stewardship and conservation go above and beyond to celebrate and protect our greatest resources. This year, special guests, new views of the land and more will all be a part of the region's biggest eco-party.

Already under way, the 10-day Sebastopol Village Building Convergence runs through April 24 and leads several projects, classes, networking events and discussions on how to better reclaim public spaces and build a tight-knit community. On April 22, the Convergence hosts a special Earth Day event with permaculture guru Penny Livingston-Stark at the Sebastopol Grange.

Livingston-Stark is internationally recognized for her work in designing natural and environmentally sustainable eco-systems. Based at the Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas, she often collaborates with the Marin Community Development Agency, and recently started working with tribal leaders and members of the Paiute Nation in Bishop, Calif. She leads a night of songs and stories centered on her work in permaculture that features a "Women in the Soil" panel and a discussion on the legalization of cannabis.

On April 23, the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation proclaims its love for the land by opening its newest space, the Laguna Discovery Trail, with a grand celebration. With the recent rains, the Laguna, which floods the plains between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol annually, is looking as spectacular as ever, and the environmental center's docent staff will lead visitors through the new trail, part of the 30-acre southern laguna restoration project undertaken in collaboration with the Sonoma County Water Agency.

Starting at 8am and again at 10am, guide-led walks along the Discovery Trail offer a chance to view more than 4,000 native plants and take in the birds and other wildlife that call the Laguna home. Registration is required, so sign up at lagunafoundation.org.

Over in Napa, the Environmental Education Coalition of Napa County takes over the newly opened Oxbow Commons for its Earth Day party on April 23. The Commons, a quarter-mile-long strip of land built along the Napa River, serves a dual function as a bypass for floodwaters and a 10-acre public park space.

For the spiritually minded, don't miss the Reverend Billy, a New York City–based eco-activist and performance artist who leads the Stop Shopping Choir in radical anticorporate actions that include sit-in concerts and sidewalk sermons. The Reverend Billy reads from his new motivational handbook, The Earth Wants YOU, April 23 at Point Reyes Community Presbyterian Church and on April 25 at Sebastopol's Many Rivers Books & Tea.

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