Community Gatherings for Mother Earth and Earth Day

Image is of an aerial photo the Medicine Wheel Earthwork on the Haskell Indian Nations University Campus, created by students, faculty, tribal elders, and Stan Herd, photograph by Jon Blumb

Our community abounds in opportunities to connect with each other and honor Mother Earth. And on April 22 Lawrence, Kansas will host several different options to celebrate our place on this Earth and gather with friends and more community members. Let this post help you decide which events to attend on Earth Day as well as excellent books to read.

The Wakarusa Wetlands Celebration, opens a new window is an outdoor event which features local authors and artists sharing their creativity while honoring the Earth. We’ll begin at the Medicine Wheel Earthwork south of the Haskell Campus buildings with a special land recognition with Dr. Daniel Wildcat, a Yuchi member of the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma. A Land rover will be available for mobility assistance over the uneven ground. Consider bringing a refillable water bottle and lawn chair or blanket. Lawrence Public Library is partnering with Haskell Indian Nations University and Raven Book Store to offer this event. Learn more about the authors and artists featured at the Wakarusa Wetlands Celebration, opens a new window and help spread this news via the library's Facebook page. The authors and artists presenting include:
• Dr. Daniel Wildcat, Yuchi Member of the Muscogee Nation, Author
• Ron Brave, Lakota, Singer
• Iris Cliff, Assiniboine and Turtle Mountain Chippewa, Artist
• Tokeya Waci U Richardson, Oglala Lakota and Haliwa-Saponi Tribes, Artist
• Sydney Pursel, Ioway Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, Artist
• Kayla Cook, Author
• Angie Pickman, Artist
• Barry Barnes, Author
• Jill Mickel, Artist
• Jake Vail, Author
• Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Author
• Ken Lassman, Author

More celebrations include We Are the Keepers Earth Day Celebration and Kaw River Cleanup, opening with a welcome from artist Mona Cliff (Aaniiih/Nakota) and a water blessing offered by Carole Cadue-Blackwood (Kickapoo) and Steve Cadue (Kickapoo) at 10 AM, RSVP requested, opens a new window.

At Prairie Park on April 22 from 1 to 4 pm. Grassland Heritage Foundation and Native Lands Restoration are collaborating for an educational day planting and seeding native wildflowers and grasses, sharing information about how to protect and restore our native ecosystems, and having some fun with crafts for all ages! This is a great way to volunteer and create works of art to celebrate the planet, RSVP requested, opens a new window.

The Earth Day Fair is in South Park on April 22 from 1 to 3 PM. Enjoy activities, information about natural resources, and how we can protect them.

Find out about many more 2023 Lawrence Earth Day Activities here, opens a new window.

Lawrence's chance to meet Ross Gay, opens a new window is finally upon us! An Evening with Ross Gay is April 24 at Liberty Hall at 7 PM. Poet, essayist, and professor Ross Gay connects social justice and resilience to the outside world with inspired joy! Reserve your free ticket,, opens a new window.

The Listening to Place: Writing Workshop is an invitation to join Megan Kaminski, opens a new window and her students to write among the trees of the Lawrence Community Orchard! On April 26 from 4 to 5:30 PM you’ll practice centering and creative expression in a community of peers, fruit trees, and more-than-human neighbors, and be guided in setting your intentions for the season and deepening your relationship to place. Be sure to register here, opens a new window.

The Annual Baker Wetlands Bird Walk is April 29 at 8 am. Meet Roger Boyd and Jake Vail to walk amidst the spring bird migration at Baker Wetlands, meet at the Discovery Center. Here's a link to learn more, opens a new window.

I've shared similar sentiments before, and yet I feel strongly enough to repeat myself, I hope you will step outside to enjoy local places, meet local authors, and read their words to develop a greater appreciation for this place. Hopefully this information inspires you to join several community happenings while connecting and celebrating Earth Day with books too!

Being near the Wakarusa and Kansas (Kaw) Rivers, I want to honor and acknowledge local traditional Native lands of the Dakota, Delaware (Lenape), Kansa (Kaw), Kickapoo, Lakota, Osage, Sac and Fox, Shawnee, and actually hundreds more tribes who find connection here with Haskell Indian Nations University. As Ken Lassman (author of Wild Douglas County, opens a new window and Kaw Valley Almanac, opens a new window) noted: “Haskell Indian Nations University is the United Nations of tribes, with members of hundreds of tribes coming here over the lifetime of its existence."

Cover image credit: An aerial photo the Medicine Wheel Earthwork on the Haskell Indian Nations University Campus, created by students, faculty, tribal elders, and Stan Herd, photograph by Jon Blumb.

-Shirley Braunlich is a Readers' Services Assistant at Lawrence Public Library.


My heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Daniel Wildcat and every author and artist participating in the Wakarusa Wetlands Celebration for generously sharing about their creative work while honoring the lands we share with this more than human Earth!

Appreciation to Denise Low, opens a new window for helping me make sure I acknowledged each Native American tribe by their preferred name.

Checkout these books by local authors participating in the Wakarusa Wetlands Celebration:

Red Alert!

Merry Menagerie

We Sleep in A Burning House

A Kansas Bestiary

How Time Moves

Wild Douglas County