Start off Earth Day with River Run

Then join Maple Ridge for events in Memorial Peace Park.

Start off Earth Day with River Run

Start Earth Day celebrations with a bang, at the starting line.

The Family Education and Support Centre will be hosting this year’s River Run, five and 10-kilomertre races on the dikes, starting in Pitt Meadows on Saturday.

‘“We are thrilled to be holding our River Run on Earth Day,” said Faye Luxemburg-Hyam, FESC executive director.

“Lots of families will be out in the community taking part in a multitude of activities and we are looking forward to their making our run the first thing they do in the morning.”

The race will help to raise much-needed funds for the centre.

And runners will complete the race in plenty of time to attend Earth Day celebrations in Memorial Peace Park in Maple Ridge.

Nancy Murray, a former FESC board, developed the idea for the race.

“As a mother, grandmother and teacher, I know how important early childhood education is to building strong individuals, and the family centre  provides information, education, resources and support to individuals and families by promoting knowledge, supporting growth and embracing diversity.”

What does running five to ten kilometers have to do with a young mother learning to communicate with her young child or a father learning how to manage his anger or a young woman feeling supported by a group of people who, like her, are experiencing depression?

These folks all attend programs at the Family Education and Support Centre, which is celebrating 40 years of service delivery in Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Katzie and who are sponsoring for the fifth year, their annual River Run!

Family Education and Support Centre board chair and race director, Yasina Ismaily knows firsthand about what this agency does.

“When I was a new mom, I took many of the classes offered by the centre.  Not only did the centre teach me to be a good parent with classes like Terrific Twos and Siblings without Rivalry, it helped my personal growth with classes like Communications Skills. It made all the difference in how I interacted with other people.  I am honoured to be able to give back to this amazing organization.”

Race registration is at 8:30 a.m. The race starts at 9 a.m. at Harris Road and the South Alouette Bridge (Menzies Crossing).

There will be a clocked finish and snacks and prizes afterwards.

Race bags can be picked up from the Running Room in Maple Ridge, located in Westgate Mall, on Friday, April 20, from 3to 7 p.m.

Runners from out of town can pick up their bags on site on the day of the run.

• For more information, email race director Yasina Ismaily at

Register for the five-kilometre or 10 km races at the Running Room in Westgate mall,


Farmers market at Earth Day

The Haney Farmers Market is back for another full season of fresh food, lively music and fun, including Earth Day this Saturday.

Haney Farmer’s Market is partnering and sharing with many groups starting with Earth Day and celebrating 40 years of recycling.

Regular vendors will add to the fun of Earth Day excitement with Smokey Dogs, the Samosa Lady and Gary’s Kettlecorn, as well as Sweet Thea with treats for dessert.

The regular market season begins on May 12 with Medieval Adventures in the Memorial Peace Park, the famous Celebration Carrot Cake and challenging children’s activities at the Kids Korner tent.

Pick up a calendar of other events coming your way from the information tent at Earth Day.

The farmer’s market is currently taking applications for food and craft vendors for the 2012 market season.

The market will take place every Saturday (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.), May 12 to October 27 in Memorial Peace Park in downtown Maple Ridge.

The market welcomes applications from local growers.  All products must be locally made, baked or grown by the vendor.

Prepared food vendors must be familiar with local Fraser Health Authority regulations.

The cost per market is $30, with a yearly membership fee of $25.

All vendors must be members of the Haney Farmers Market Society. Visit for application forms.

The market is also taking applications for entertainers.  Anyone interested in sharing their talent with the community is asked to contact them.

Haney Farmer’s Market will once again be hosting an information booth for non-profit groups in the community.  This booth is free and open to all local non-profit organizations.

• For information on becoming a volunteer, entertainer or vendor please leave a message at 604-467-7433 or e-mail


Natural, recycled kids’ crafts

Visit Adopt-a-Block inside the Maple Ridge Arts Centre and Theatre on Earth Day, when it will be hosting children’s arts and crafts activities using materials that are authentic, natural and recyclable.

At an outdoor booth, Adopt-a-Block will be planting seeds and painting pet rocks, as well as providing information about adopting a piece of your neighbourhood to keep clean.

The Maple Ridge Adopt-A-Block Society encourages and supports individuals, businesses, organizations and local governments to accept responsibility for litter in the community.

The goal of the society is to control and prevent littering through action and public education.

• Maple Ridge residents are encouraged to “Adopt A Block” of their own by contacting 604-463-9699.


Recycle your bicycle

The Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition has been active in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows for the past three years, organizing Bike to Work Week events, and participating with community events such as Earth Day, Canada Day and GETI Fest.

In 2011, the cycling coalition offered free ‘Discovery Bike Rides’ to local, as well as regional destinations, which it will continue this year.

According to the coalition: “Cycling has many benefits to individuals, to the community, and to the health of our planet.  It offers people of all ages a cheap and healthy alternative to motor vehicles.

“It also offers more independence to seniors and kids, and others who don’t drive.

“Cycling helps people feel more connected to their neighbourhoods.

“The benefits can be enjoyed by those who do not bike, as well.

“When more people bike, the roads will be less congested, there is more space on the road for those who need to drive, less parking space will be needed for cars, the air will be less polluted, and improved health will lessen the burden on the health care system! More people walking and biking also means more eyes on the road, so it improves safety.”

Join VACC on Earth Day for the ‘Cycle Recycle’, a bike give-away with draws at 10 a.m. and noon, or try out the bus bike rack.

VACC will offer safe bike parking at the event and will give away free TransLink regional bike maps.

Maple Ridge Cycle will offer tips on bike repair and maintenance.

“Here’s to safe and happy cycling.”


Freecycle at Earth Day

Ridge Meadows Recycling is hosting a Family Freecycle in the studio theatre at the Arts Centre and Theatre on Earth Day.

The event, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., gently used children’s clothing, toys and books will be given away free to emphasize the principle of reuse.

There will also be a demonstration of a parent and child Mother Goose program in the children’s circle, located in the centre of the Freecycle, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Parent-child Mother Goose teaches parents and caregivers of young children the lost art of interacting with babies and young children through rhymes, songs, marching and dancing without the aid of props.  Parents and tots can play, shop and swap at the Freecycle.

All Freecycle items have been donated and items that remain after the event will be donated to Webster’s Corner’s elementary school for fundraising efforts.

A number of local businesses collected items throughout April to support the Freecycle.


Food, wine and beer

What’s not to like about a fundraiser with food, wine and beer?

Join the CEED Centre, co-organizer of Celebrate Earth Day 2012, at “Cheers to the Planet” on Sunday at Meadowridge School, 6-9 p.m.

CEED stands for Community Education on Environment and Development and the local non-profit society supports action groups, programs and initiatives involving members, volunteers and community partners.

Food security and local gardens are a huge component (they operate a number of community gardens and school gardens) and there are also many community development and outreach programs as well.

Many of CEED’s programs are currently operated on government and private grants.  These funds aren’t guaranteed from year to year, and only cover the operation of a specific program.

At this second-annual fundraiser, the centre hopes to raise funds to support its myriad programs.

Thanks to community sponsorship, 100 per cent of every ticket sold goes directly towards target projects, including new front stairs and a wheelchair ramp for the CEED building.

On Saturday evenings, CEED serves dinner to 100-150 community members who are mainly low-income, working poor or homeless, in a partnership with the St. George’s Street Ministry.

A commercial dishwasher is a top priority for the organization to transition from using disposable products to reusable dishes and cutlery.

Funds will also be used to expand educational programs that teach people how to garden, how to compost, to use organic methods and to reduce pesticide use.