Local artists, businesses hold event advocating for the planet

‘Jam it for the Planet’ aimed to attract young and old community members


Photo by Gabbie Henn

Local and regional musicians included Heatbox, Stanton West, Earth Day All-Stars, Olive Sings and Randall Adams. They played from noon on Saturday, April 21, to 1 a.m. on Sunday, April 22.

A list of renewable resources can include wind turbines, solar panels, hydroelectricity and, evidently, songs about the Earth.

Case in point: “Jam it for the Planet,” a miniature music festival/business expo honoring the earth. The event at The Plus featured local musicians who strummed their guitars to the tune of sustainability from noon on Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday.

The family-friendly outing, part of the Chippewa Valley Sustainability Fair, has been around for four years. Local businesses including Xcel Energy, JAMF Software and the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters sponsored the event.

Local and regional talents included Heatbox, Stanton West, Earth Day All-Stars, Olive Sings and Randall Adams. Performers were perched on a raised stage with a tie-dye backdrop. Paper mache planets, each enthusiastically smiling, hung from the ceiling.

Booths of information about environmental issues ranging from composting to political action encircled the room, accompanying the music. Eau Claire artist Dana Sterzinger transformed white canvases into swirling technicolor visions of Earth next to the stage.

Deeper into the room, a sizable plastic container of itty bitty succulents were sitting in neat rows, patiently awaiting their adoption — guests could take the plants home in colored ceramic containers, thanks to Amy Schmitz of Amy’s Custom Designs. Next to the succulent station, earth-toned necklaces and beaded earrings swayed in the passing breeze.

Mother-daughter duo Kim and Ali Bowe sifted through the jewelry. Kim said the day’s gorgeous weather complimented Jam it for the Planet nicely.

“I’m passionate about the environment and I love to see the community here,” Ali said.

She heard about the event during her high school’s environmental club meeting.

Some attendees — those young in years and at heart — sported face paint and spent time at the cluttered craft stations. Earth Day superhero Recyclone, clad in a red mask and lengthy cape, led a discussion about recycling. The Eau Claire County Recycling Program presented a game that aimed to teach players what they can recycle.

In addition to educating the public about the environment, Jam it for the Planet promoted female leaders, several of which preformed and spearheaded discussions or learning activities.

Patricia Scott of Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) was one community leader who made an appearance at Saturday’s jam. CCL is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that lobbies in support of implementing a carbon fee and dividend.

Upon her retirement, Scott said she looked to CCL because she wanted to advocate on behalf of the Earth. Eau Claire’s chapter is one of 363 in the U.S.

“We’re here to talk about the solutions,” Scott said. “It’s all about building relationships.”

In a world so politically divided, Scott said, events like Jam it for the Planet are the perfect spaces for one-on-one discussions that inspire change.