At our 12/20/22 meeting, Mark Klapatch-Mathias and Lauren Kaminski talked about Earth Fest and related sustainability-focused programs and groups in and around River Falls.  Mark Klapatch-Mathias is currently on the Hope for Creation Leadership Team, a member of the Systemic Solutions Committee, Co-Chair of Earth Fest 2023, and the Sustainability Coordinator at UW-River Falls. Lauren Kaminski has worked in the Community Education & Communications Department at the River Falls School District for 11 years. For Earth Fest, she is the Communications & Marketing chair.
The talk covered the first Earth Fest 2022 in April 2022 and Earth Fest 2023 which will be held on April 22 in Glen Park. Mark also explained Hope for Creation-River Falls.  Earth Fest is a FREE community celebration of the past, present, and future sustainability efforts in River Falls and the surrounding area.  Everyone is welcome. 
Last year’s event highlighted and celebrated local sustainability and climate-related actions. Exhibitor response was very good, with 50 exhibitors set up in Glen Park. Free food was provided by the food co-op and others, including plant-based burgers that Rotary members grilled. Allina gave away free bikes and helmets. Every booth had an activity, and there was music and entertainment. The planners had hoped to get 100 people, but they missed their mark, getting an estimated 1,000 people despite cold and near gale force winds.  It was a true community effort from planning to set-up.
The next Earth Fest will be from noon to 4 p.m. April 22, 2023 in Glen Park again, and it will coordinate with the River Falls Blue Grass Festival, including free shuttle buses between festival events. Earth Fest will be the “Family Friendly” event. They are expecting 80 booths this year.
The main sponsor of Earth Fest is Hope for Creation-River Falls which is a collaborative effort of UWRF, the City of River Falls, 10 area churches, and citizen advocates for environmental and community sustainability awareness and action because, “Fostering a sustainable community is integral for achieving a successful future for all of us.”
Hope4Creation encourages sustainable processes such as solar energy, green teams, community gardens, community reading and poetry gatherings, and the organization sponsors speakers at the public library who talk about sustainable practices.
The organization encourages everyone to sign the sustainability pledge, which promises to live a life aligned with community values of social, economic, and environmental justice, to seek balance between that person’s needs and the needs of their fellow humans and the natural systems of the world, and to live these values with specific actions that will allow future generations to live quality lives.
Contact is: