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Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians to celebrate Earth Day at Kitiyepumu’ Park

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Courtesy of The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians
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The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians' 2018 Earth Day Festival.

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, who call themselves the Samala Chumash, are holding their annual Earth Day celebration Saturday. There will be almost 20 organizations contributing to this year’s event.

Zero-waste booths will be featured at the Santa Ynez Chumash Earth Day celebration. Booths include a clothing swap to exchange gently used clothes, a wishing tree where people can leave their environmental wishes, and a booth to bring plates and food scraps to make sure it goes to the right place. There will also be a demonstration on how to build an at-home compost bin.

“We bring people together to be able to educate the community in a fun way," said Diego Cordero, the Lead Environmental Technician for the The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.

"We really want to be something that people enjoy," said Cordero. "It's not a lecture or anything like that. It's more like a celebration, we have a lot of fun stuff going on.”

Cordero has been working for the Santa Ynez Band since 2016, and he said this year’s theme is ‘Invest In the Earth.’ The point is to convey the message that it’s worth thinking about the future and preserving the land for future generations.

“This is the home of the Samala Chumash people, and they care about it greatly. We want to show our respect for this place that we all share together and live on together," Cordero said.

The Santa Ynez Chumash said they are working on several environmental programs:

  1. Zero Waste program: Members go to events to try to reduce the amount of material that ends up in the landfill. They sort out all the recycling and the compost. 
  2. Vermin Compost Bin: Local residents donate their food scraps to feed to worms, then use the worm castings as fertilizer.
  3. Water Quality Testing Program: Every month members of the Santa Ynez Chumash go to the stream that runs through the reservation to test the water quality. They have wells that test the groundwater depth at the reservation.
  4. Air Monitoring Program: The Santa Ynez Chumash have several air monitoring stations where they are taking in data to test the air quality, especially during wildfires.

The event will be held Saturday, May 21 from 10am to 2pm on the Chumash Reservation at Kitiyepumu’ Park, located at 100 Via Juana Road in Santa Ynez.

Gabriela Fernandez is a general assignment reporter at KCBX News. She graduated from Sacramento State with a BA in Political Science. During her senior year, she interned at CapRadio in their podcast department, and later worked for them as an Associate Producer on the TahoeLand podcast.