You couldn’t ask for a much better Earth Day… temperatures in the upper 60’s with a gentle breeze, gorgeous blue skies, the sweet smell of new blooms in the air, and countless volunteers with ear-to-ear grins across their faces hauling bags of garbage out of the Milwaukee River.
Welcome to the 6th annual Rock The Green Earth Day Celebration. Partnering this year with Milwaukee Riverkeeper, the Earth Day festivities moved from downtown Milwaukee to Shorewood’s Estabrook Park, were a gaggle of garbage collecting volunteers joined forces with members of our Greater Milwaukee Community from all walks of life to celebrate Earth Day. Over 1,000 in attendance from newborn babies to folks in their eighties, the Earth Day Celebration was an event that helped bring the community together, and allowed everyone in attendance to learn more about how to be a better eco-citizen.
With Rock the Green’s trademark near-zero-waste focus, there were areas set up to recycle and compost waste. Several locally-sourced food vendors Screaming Tuna, Yellowbellies Hardwood Cafe, Urban Kettle and Dr. Dawg were on hand to provide a smorgasbord of tasty eats for lunch served with compostable Patra-Eco plates and utensils. Local environmental organizations who are pivotal in promoting a sense of eco-stewardship were also on hand with booths promoting ways for our community to continue to engage together to help our environment; Milwaukee Riverkepper, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, Compost Crusader, Rock the Green, US Green Building Council, Urban Ecology Center, Bublr Bikes, Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, Sweet Water Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds, Reflo Sustainable Water Solutions, Beevangelist, Milwaukee Environmental Consortium, WUWM, Take Back Your Meds Coalition, Milwaukee Tobacco-Free Alliance and BRP Evinrude and Milwaukee’s Environmental Collaboration Office.
For entertainment, Milwaukee’s own Trapper Schoepp and his band played a two-set performance on Rock The Green’s one-of-a-kind pedal powered stage, with local bicycling groups pumping along to provide the band with energy to rock. Schoepp, the son of a park ranger himself, is an artist who is strongly committed to promoting environmental sustainability and eco-awareness. Schoepp is proud to call Milwaukee his home, and his passion for local culture was evident in several of his tunes, including “On,Wisconsin,” his latest recording which took lyrics Bob Dylan penned about Wisconsin in the early 1960’s, and set them to an upbeat rocking tune. Moreover, for his latest record release, the forthcoming EP Bay Beach, Shoepp sets his songs in the family friendly amusement park in Green Bay, known for its cleanliness and reasonable prices. Some of Schoepp’s more-seasoned tunes were also well-received such as “The Ballad of Olaf Johnson” (off of 2016’s Rangers and Valentines) and “Tracks” (off of 2012’s Run Engine Run). Trapper Schoepp’s showmanship, charisma, and ability to connect with fans of all ages sets him apart from others as a remarkable festival act. At one point, Schoepp jumped on the pedal power bike himself and got the cyclists to join him on the refrain of “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man.”
From good tunes, to tasty eats, to hearing from leaders in the Greater Milwaukee Community about the importance of protecting our environment, Rock the Green’s 6th Annual Earth Day Celebration with Milwaukee Riverkeeper may have been their best Earth Day event yet.