Find, pull on, and lace up your walking shoes for next weekend’s March for Science in White Salmon.
The first ever White Salmon March for Science is slated for April 22, at Rheingarten Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is a satellite from the Washington, D.C. march and will be an opening for the Gorge’s Earth Week.
“We’re trying to make it a science fair, and get kids interested to show them that the local community supports getting in to STEM activities,” explained White Salmon resident and Science March Organizer Michael Oldfather.
The idea for the event stemmed from Washington, D.C.’s March for Science, which Oldfather considered attending, but instead of venturing to D.C. to march Oldfather thought they could bring the march to White Salmon.
“It just popped in to my head, that I’d start a local one,” Oldfather said.
Oldfather wants to focus of the March for Science event to be about science, “I just want to say we support science and to get the politics and partisanship out of science,” he said.
The event is family friendly, non-partisan, and intended to bring the “community together to celebrate science.” Attendees will have the opportunity to listen to speakers, engage in various science demonstrations, and march around White Salmon in the name of science and discovery.
The day will begin at 10 a.m. with a science fair and procession of species, “They’ve done that every year, but they usually do it over in Hood River,” explained Oldfather, “That’s mainly younger kids dressing up as certain animals and such.”
At 11 a.m. six to eight local speakers will address the crowd with science themed speeches. After the talks, the march will begin at noon, launching from Rheingarten Park to 1st Ave., left on Jewett, right on Estes, and back to the park by Lincoln Street.
Jewett Boulevard will be closed during the march, which Oldfather estimates won’t exceed the event’s permitted hour-long road closure.
“We’re also going to have a food drive with donations going to Washington Gorge Action Programs,” Oldfather added. “Whoever donates will get a raffle ticket for that. Any proceeds we make, or anything that anybody donates, are going to go to the White Salmon Valley Education Foundation.”
Depending on how much money is raised, there’s a possibility funds could be split among other local organizations.
Raffle prizes will consist of science based items and activities, “Microscopes, stuff like that,” notes Oldfather. Tickets for the raffle will be distributed to those who participate in any aspect of the fair, the procession of species, donation of food, or science fair activities. Drawings for winners will take after noon’s march.
The science fair is open to more participants if anyone is looking to put experiments on display, “Just bring them on by, if there’s space we can try to fit them in or if people bring their own tent or table setup (depending on whether),” noted Oldfather.
The event is being organized by Oldfather and Klickitat County Democrats chair Sasha Bentley, along with a handful of core volunteers, including Kyra Gorski, who designed the march’s leaping salmon logo.
“The March for Science and related activities celebrate science and its impact on our community and lives, and that is a worthy cause,” added March for Science volunteer Megan Sheffels.
Organizing the event extends beyond science, “It wasn’t just about the March for Science, it was about bringing these kinds of community gatherings to more accessible local locations,” Bentley noted.
“For me, it’s something I think we can bring people together around,” said Bentley. “The science march is more of a march, but we also made it in to this fair as another way to get people involved in a community event.”
Depending on how this year’s event goes, the march may take on a life of its own and circle back for another lap next year. “We made our banner without a date, so we could use it again next year,” Oldfather said.