In honor of Earth Day, President Joe Biden signed an executive order in Seattle last Friday to help protect old growth forests on federal lands at risk due to wildfires in the West, beetle infestations and disease.

A White House fact sheet says protection of the forests has been prioritized by his administration through an allocation of $8 billion to fund forest and land management activities.

The release notes that forests serve as a critical solution to combat climate change, absorbing carbon dioxide equivalent to more than 10% of U.S. annual greenhouse gas emissions.

According to Earthday.org, forests are home to 80% of the world’s biodiversity and, next to oceans, are the second biggest storehouse of carbon, absorbing significant amounts of greenhouse gasses.

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In Utah, volunteers picked up trash, targeting the riparian corridor of the Jordan River.

“This event is a part of the Jordan River Commission’s Love Your Watershed Initiative with the goal of educating the public about litter that ends up in our waterways from parking lots, gutters and other surrounding areas. We can all do our part to contribute to improving the health and beauty of the Jordan River and our watershed,” said Aimee Horman, outreach and education manager with the Jordan River Commission. 

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The birds and the bees

Tracy Aviary, the oldest aviary in the country, hosted a celebration at its Liberty Park location, celebrating all things bird. At the Jordan River Nature Center, participants made seed bombs.

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Young Living had 50 volunteers at its Lehi headquarters where they built bee hotels for native bee species in Utah.

The hotels are made out of weeds harvested from Young Living’s farm in Mona and will be distributed at the farm, employee’s homes, and at the company’s headquarters and distribution center.

A recent study by researchers at Indiana University found that about 25% fewer bee species were found between 2006-2015 than before 1990.

This event has been inspired by Young Living’s recent partnership with Joseph Wilson, author of “The Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North America’s Bees,” on a critical research initiative to learn more about native bee populations.

The research project, which will start at Young Living’s farms in Mona and Simiane-la-Rotonde, France, will study native bee species at both locations and provide insights to help bee populations thrive.

Elsewhere in Utah, the University of Utah was the setting for a recycling event Friday in which it accepted documents for shredding, desktop and laptop computers, printers, batteries, stereos, VCR, DVD and CD players, and more. The annual event is organized by the Utah Division of Consumer Protection.

In acknowledgement of the 52nd anniversary of Earth Day, the Utah Valley Earth Forum released its sustainability survey of cities in Utah County that tracks what strides they are making in areas that include idle free ordinances, tiered water rates, permitting of rooftop solar installation and protection of night skies.

Alicia Larson throws away a box of papers for the free paper service at the annual Declutter Day at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Friday, April 22, 2022. | Mengshin Lin, Deseret News