M Donnelly Headshot300dpiMarianne Donnelly 500

By Marianne Donnelly 



FREE Clark County NV Rural Community Event Saturday April 22

EARTH DAY SANDY VALLEY: Decade of Micro°Fests, Water Celebration 2023

April 22 is Earth Day worldwide and will be joyfully celebrated in Clark County Nevada by honoring those who bravely defended Sandy Valley's local aquifer, with history, art, science and music at their second annual event of a planned decade of micro°fests. The event will be held at Sandy Valley Senior Center, 690 Quartz Avenue from12:00 noon-4:00 p.m., rain or shine. Admission is FREE. All ages are welcome.

Specifically designed to be cozy, you are asked to "Bring Your Lunch" as a sweet tradition, and subtle nod to all mothers, and to "keep it simple!"

"Sandy Valley Earth Day: Decade of Micro°Fests" was founded by the trustee of Richard and Drue Bale Family Trust, M. Donnelly. This year's theme is local water. Last year's theme was local mining and geology and next year's theme is air.

Sandy Valley Nevada, located forty miles south of Las Vegas, has few modern amenities; however, they have something more precious: courage, self-reliance, persistence and fierce vigilant protection of their precious aquifer.

For a decade, dozens of unstoppable resident volunteers, such as the Bacher, Knight, Clark, Lowe and other families, worked with geologist Joy Fiore, lawyer Al Marquis, Judge Dawn Havilland and others to thwart powerful Vidler Company (now owned by D.R. Horton, largest homebuilder in the United States) that was hellbent on taking water from their Sandy Mesquite aquifer, to ship it roughly 20 miles over mountains to Primm, for high profit casino commercial use. That would have likely caused permanent drought in this mostly micro agricultural horse raising community. These unconqerable residents became known as the "Water Warriors."

It started when the Bacher and Knight families, then living on Cherokee Avenue, saw industrial trucks with giant conduit pipes plowing into the dry lakebed outside their windows on a holiday weekend! Their combined quick action stopped the surreptitious effort of Vidler Company. Immediately, word spread about that brazen illegal attempt to "take nearly all our water, against any legal standing, or notice."

To honor them, this water celebration is commissioned art by muralist and Sandy Valley resident Shawn Ealy. It will be permanently displayed above a sleek steel water fountain in the Senior Center. Shawn's painting-collage will feature local gems, sand, artifacts and interpretation of the warrior logo amidst a locally inspired water scene.

The water warriors hired resident super-lawyer, Al Marquis after the lead attorney died of a heart attack from stress. Al is a Sandy Valley ranch-owner, cowboy poet and philanthropist, beloved for generosity and quick wit. He returns this year with his presentation, "Preserving Our Water" which shares legal battle twists, turns and adventures, that resulted in the remarkable victorious decision from the Nevada Supreme Court that protects Sandy Valley, locally known as, the "little village that beat the 'big guys' against all odds."

Precious Nevada local history should never be forgotten, hence, a memory book of articles, photos, testimonies and ephemera will stay with Ealy's permanent art as a growing history archive.

Sandy Valley is part of Goodsprings mining district, where Joe Good's abundant springs supplied water to miners, companies and travelers far and wide. Intricacies of collecting, distributing and managing water will be shared by Mary Blake of Goodsprings Historical Society, who returns for a second year to Earth Day. Of note, their annual walking tour is a "must do!" Many dine afterward at historically preserved Pioneer Saloon, which donates to GHS and other community events. Goodsprings' "names wall" is featured in Pioneer's dining garden. Walking tour brochures are available in their general store.

Las Vegas Valley Water District retired engineer, Sandy resident Kevin McMahan, will speak about large and small water systems, pumping, purifying, and understanding dynamics of water.

Southern Nevada Gem and Mineral Society lifetime member and Kids Club educational ambassador, Mary Beth Paladino, returns to talk about Marine Fossils and host an activity table with giveaways.

Rounding out the event is Reiki Master Eileen Meeks, Pahrump dot-com owner of Stoned Healer, who will share scientifically proven water "memory."

A joyful acoustic jam, hosted by Pioneer Saloon owner, guitarist Stephen Staats (aka Old Man Liver) and "Remynders" band member Kevin Magowan will play water-themed tunes, a few sing-alongs as well as original music. Between presentations will be easy rubber-duckie games, giveaways and a mermaid photo-op!

Earth Day was established in 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson to bolster public consciousness about air and water pollution. Employing Dennis Hayes to coordinate grassroot college involvement, their efforts led to establishing the Environmental Protection Agency, Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. Working collaboratively with Republican Pete McClosky they chose April 22 because that is is between Spring Break and Final Exams, to maximize student participation.

Most mamas said to us as we went to school,
"Don't forget your lunch!" Sandy Valley Earth Day keeps that common memory alive.


Directions: Exit 12 off I 15, right on route 161,
left on Sandy Valley Road mountain pass,
right on Cherokee, which bends left, and becomes Quartz, go four miles to end of road.

Handicap accessible, free parking. Park has shaded picnic tables, bathrooms and grass lawn

event line: 702-723-0085
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