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Earth Day Planting and Celebration

April 17, 2007 — Research indicates that one acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen, which is enough to meet the annual oxygen needs of 18 people.

This Saturday, April 21, Bend-in-the-River welcomes Earth Day with a planting and celebration. The event will take place from 8:30 a.m. to noon at Bend-in-the-River, 1030 West Fremont Avenue (1100 South) and will include a light breakfast, planting, children’s activities sponsored by REI, lunch and presentation of community partner awards. The celebration is free and open to the public.

Tara Poelzing, Bend-in-the-River coordinator, says that the event is geared towards educating the community about the benefits of ecological restoration. “By encouraging people from throughout Salt Lake to come out to the Bend, we bring together people from all walks of life for a common goal–to beautify public land and, in the process, experience nature in the city.”

Poelzing explains that planting helps build a sense of ownership and pride in the land. “When one puts a plant into the ground, a bond seems to immediately form wherein the planter hopes for the plant’s health and continual growth and checks up on it regularly to see the plant’s progress.”

Bend-in-the-River, a project of the University of Utah’s Lowell Bennion Community Service Center, began in 1996 when staff discovered the weed-infested, misused plot of land bordering the Jordan River.

Interested in a venture that would serve an urban yet diverse community, the project became the Bend-in-the-River, named after the large river bend located on the property. Together the Bennion Center, community members, local area elementary school students, and community agency partners have worked to restore the site and transform it into an urban natural area.

Today the Bend-in-the-River project continues to carry out its mission of caring for and utilizing a natural learning environment in an urban setting. Members of the community, local elementary students, community agency partners, and numerous volunteers help to cleanup and care for the area by planting native trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants, removing noxious weeds, and watering new plantings.

The Bend-in-the-River education outreach program works with students in their schools and in summer camp programs to provide unique indoor and outdoor alternatives to traditional classroom learning. The Bend-in-the-River site has become a point of interest along the Jordan River. In addition to its use as an educational site, a natural space and as host to bikers and runners along the Jordan River Parkway trail, the site instills a sense of community in the local area residents.

For more information about the Bend-in-the-River Earth Day Planting and Celebration, contact Tara Poelzing at or 801-587-9027. Additional information about Bend-in-the-River may be found at