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Hope for Creation' speakers address care of water

Hope for Creation focus is on water.

The 2023 Hope for Creation Conference will showcase local caretakers of land, water and air, and renew Spokane's leadership in environmental care as it gathers people from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday, April 22, Earth Day, at St John's Episcopal Cathedral, 127 E. 12th Ave.

Hosted by the cathedral, in partnership with Whitworth's Office of Church Engagement and The Fig Tree, the conference is preparing for the 50th anniversary in 2024 of Expo '74, the first world's fair dedicated to the environment.

"It brought creation care to the world stage and helped shape the consciousness of Spokane," said conference coordinator John Wallingford. "As we near the anniversary, we look back at where we've been, consider what is being done and develop a road map for the future. Spokane was a leader in creation care then, and that leadership should continue."

The event gathers faith communities, nonprofit organizations, civic leaders, businesspeople and engaged citizens of many points of view.

While faith perspectives run through the conference, there are two interfaith events at its end.

Cathedral Dean Heather VanDeventer and Mayor Nadine Woodward will open the event.

Speakers and topics for 20-minute presentations offer ideas and hope:

• Craig čt̓apsqé Hill, a Spokane Tribe member on "History of the People of this River."

• Brian Walker, private lands biologist at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge on "Wetlands: Critical Infrastructure for Man and Wildlife."

• Sue Niezgoda, Gonzaga civil engineering professor on "Beaver Dam Analogs: Mimicking Nature's Ecosystem Engineer to Improve Riverine Ecosystems."

• Caj Matheson of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe's Department of Natural Resources on "The Future of Lake Coeur d'Alene."

• Reanette Boese of Spokane Aquifer Joint Board on "Care of Our Drinking Water."

• Kristen Zimmer of the City of Spokane on "Water Resource Management."

• Spokane Riverkeeper Jerry White on "Recognizing the Right of the Spokane River to Exist."

• Kara Odegard of Measure Meant and Matthew Morse, Kelly Patterson and Hannah Richter of Gonzaga University on "Relationships Matter: When Environmental Politics and Policy Fall Short."

• Tanya Riordan of Save Our Wild Salmon on "Columbia Watershed Dams."

• D.R. Michel of Upper Columbia United Tribes on "U.S.-Canada Columbia River Treaty."

• Matt Santangelo, coordinator of Expo +50, on plans for 2024.

• John Wallingford of St. John's, and Breean Beggs, Spokane City Council President  on "Feedback and Next Steps."

From 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., there will be simultaneous events:

Outdoors, a Street Fair will offer displays by local organizations, music and food trucks.

Indoors, there will be four one-hour sessions for discussion groups.

Themes and leaders are: "Saltese Flats Story" with Constance Holland of the Episcopal Diocese; "The PCB Report" with Nigel D'Souza of Gonzaga; "Restorative Actions: Biochar for Stormwater Filtration" with Gloria Flora of SOS; "Water Resource Management Technology" with Callie Bendickson of Itron; "Landscape for Water" with Jackie Sykes of Master Gardeners and Annikki Chamberlain; "River Vision Plan" with Gonzaga University seniors Abby Dodd, Grant Plotner and Christiana Schmer; "Effects of Climate on Ocean Heat, pH: Coral, Snow Crabs, Fisheries" with John McCarty of St. John's.

From 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., The Fig Tree is offering a dialogue on "Faith Perspectives on Care for Water." Following that at 4:30 p.m., is the Earth Day "Healing of the Earth Vigil."

For information on the conference, visit


The Fig Tree and Faith Leaders and Leaders of Conscience (FLLC) of Eastern Washington and North Idaho are co-sponsoring two events —an interfaith panel and an interfaith vigil —in conjunction with the 2023 Hope for Creation Conference on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, at St John's Episcopal Cathedral, 127 E. 12th Ave.

Among afternoon discussion sessions, The Fig Tree is offering one at 3:30 p.m. It is an interfaith panel on "Faith Perspectives on Care of Water."

Panelists are Rabbi Tamar Malino of Temple Beth Shalom, Sreedharani Nandagopal of the Hindu community, Ikani Fakasiieiki of Liberty Park United Methodist Church; Venerable Thubten Semkye of Sravasti Abbey in Newport, and Shahd Khalili-Sangsari of the Baha'i faith, in person. Naghmana Sherazi of Muslims for Community Action and Service, shares in a video because the panel coincides with the end of Ramadan.

At 4:30 p.m., following the panel, FLLC will present the annual Earth Day "A Vigil for the Healing of the Earth."

The vigil, which is outdoors, will provide an opportunity to listen to people affected by ecological devastation, interfaith leaders and others who are active in healing the rivers and lakes, said Gen Heywood, FLLC convener.

Speakers offer a voice of people affected by lead, the voice of the river and the voice of the salmon. The vigil includes interfaith reflections, drumming and dances.

For information, call 535-4112, email or

Copyright@ The Fig Tree, April 2023