Like the trees planted yearly in Pierre, environmental awareness and stewardship are constantly growing, and next week’s Earth Awareness activities and community participation are living proof.

That’s according to Tom Farnsworth, Pierre director of parks and recreation, who said that since the inception of the city’s “Go Green and Clean” initiative in 2009, he’s seen a definite increase in the volunteer efforts of individuals, businesses and organizations.

Farnsworth said Earth Awareness Week, which runs this year from April 21-27, originated four years ago as Mayor Laurie Gill’s call to service for businesses, organizations and citizens to give back to their community.

“She really challenged us to start this ‘Go Green and Clean’ campaign,” he said. “It was a way to educate citizens and it was really a call to community service, to get the public involved.”

Earth Awareness Week kicks off events such as Earth Day and the annual spring cleanup in Pierre, and Farnsworth said it’s an opportunity to prepare the environment for tourists eager to enjoy the outdoors.

This year in specific, he’s seen major increases in individual volunteerism and business participation – whether it’s becoming more energy efficient or recycling at home.

“The awareness is what I see growing,” Farnsworth said. “Each year we get more people becoming aware. The involvement of the business community is really a strength this year.”

For more information about the Earth Awareness Week events listed to the right, contact Farnsworth at Tom.Farnsworth@ci.pierre.sd.us or 773-2527.

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