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Palooza looks to offer environmentally friendly fun

Giving students chance to learn green awareness important, seniors say
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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An end of the year celebration at Placer High School now has a more environmentally friendly feel. Placer Palooza kicks off at 4 p.m. Friday, and is hosted in part by the campus’ Environment Club. This is the second year the club has been more heavily involved with the celebration that includes live music and a variety of activities. But this year the environment will be represented through the presence of Auburn-based groups like Protect American River Canyons, Forest Foundation, Auburn State Recreation Area Canyon Keepers and Save Auburn Ravine Salmon and Steelhead. Jason Long, adviser for the Environment Club, said the event is a fun way for teens to celebrate while also learning about the environment. “A few years ago the kids wanted to do a green festival or an eco festival, and I said maybe we should just join forces with an existing program, which was essentially a battle of the bands,” Long said. “Last year was kind of like a practice year, and this year it’s coming together to be exactly that – a really engaging fun afternoon/evening.” Long said he thinks it’s important for students to get a chance to interact with members of the groups, because it makes the experience more real than learning from a book. “There is such a spectrum out there, whether it’s food, or the climate, or recycling or biking to work,” he said. “There are so many spokes on the wheel of environmentalism. It can be kind of overwhelming and overly simplistic if you just try to teach it in a textbook or wave banners. It can be much cooler if you try to teach it hands on.” Placer High senior Celeste Havener, 18, is co-president of the Environment Club and said she thinks in the past the Palooza has been a really wasteful event. Havener said she hopes students walk away with a greater green awareness this year. “I think it’s really important that students get involved with a lot of our local environmental things,” Havener said. “Especially with the American River Canyon right here, there are so many ways we can help out.” The Palooza is also expected to include a yoga session with Canyon Spirit Yoga Center, food from local vendors, a rock climbing wall, 10 student bands playing on two stages, a performance by the Placer jazz band, a raffle and a performance by the Daredevil Chicken Club. The Daredevil Chicken Club is a husband and wife duo that combines cabaret acts, street theater and clown shows. “I’m very excited about having them there,” Long said. “It’s kind of like a clown street performer kind of show, but it’s not like Ringling Brothers kind of clown. There is a lot of interplay with the audience.” A group called Earth It Up! is also planned to be in attendance. The organization was started by Auburn resident Erica Roper and practices a recycling method called upcycling. The organization takes old Capri Sun packages and Peet’s and Starbucks Coffee bags and turns them into lunch bags and purses. Proceeds from sales go toward the organizations Running School, Inc. in Northern California and Malayaka House in Uganda. Long said students who bring gently used T-shirts and neckties can exchange them for raffle tickets. The raffle includes prizes from several local businesses. T-shirts and neckties will be made into baby hats and handbags to benefit women and children in third-world countries. The cost of the event is $5, but students automatically get two dollars back in green bucks, which can be spent at any area inside the Palooza, Long said. Placer senior Louie Tobin, 17, co-president of the Environment Club, said he is excited about the food, music and activities planned for Palooza. Tobin said he hopes students take away a better knowledge of green awareness. “Hopefully they just learn a bit more about the local ecology and stuff like that,” Tobin said. “And hopefully with the (Bear River) Canal that broke (they will learn about) … conserving water, and being kind to the local animals and respect for the environment. Hopefully that’s what they will take away from it.” Jack Sanchez, founder and president of Save Auburn Ravine Salmon and Steelhead, said the group feels it’s important to attend the event for a couple of reasons. “One of the goals of SARSAS is to connect with the community, and more importantly to connect with the young people in the community,” Sanchez said. “And we have a $1,000 scholarship that is available to any graduating senior in the Placer Union High School District whose senior project most aligns itself with the mission of SARSAS.” Sanchez said it’s also important to get younger generations involved, because they will be the ones responsible for taking over the mission of returning normal levels of salmon and steelhead to the entire length of the Auburn Ravine by getting them to spawn in central Auburn parks. Eric Peach, conservation chairman with Protect American River Canyons, said he thinks the group’s presence at Palooza is important because students might have questions about the canyon. “I think we just need to be there to answer or meet their curiosity about the river and the canyons from a number of different perspectives,” Peach said. “From the ecology (perspective), they might be interested in knowing more about it since it is a natural history classroom without walls, and then they may be interested in volunteering to become good caretakers of the canyon. And a lot of their curiosity might be about the recreational activities in the canyon knowing young people.” Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com ------------------------------------------------------ Placer Palooza What: An end of the year celebration with an environmental twist When: 4-7:30 p.m. Friday Where: Senior Lawn at Placer High School Cost: $5