WCC celebrates Earth Day

Sarah Gilmore shows a Barred Owl

Sarah Gilmore, 28, a core educator and raptor specialist from Tecumseh, shows a Barred Owl to onlookers at Earth Day. Brandon Howell | Washtenaw Voice

Staff Writer


People flowed back and forth between tables, which prompted ideas for saving the Earth.

During Washtenaw Community College’s 14th Annual Earth Day celebration on April 9, students and staff browsed displays in the Student Center that gave ideas for how to reduce waste and how to volunteer to help keep the earth in shape.

Stationed just inside the revolving door entrance to the building was Sarah Archer, the president and CEO of Iris Waste Diversion Specialists, Inc. Her job is to the help businesses with their recycling program.

“It’s the whole gambit of starting the program and how to run it properly,” Archer explained.

Sitting on her table was a green bin filled with wet newspaper, a banana peel, a tea bag, a recyclable napkin, red worms and worm poop.

This bin is an indoor organic compost, in which the worms eat anything that can be degraded and poop out fertile nutrients that can be used for gardens and plants.

“There are benefits in a small handful,” Archer said. She added that it is usually best in six to nine months, but three months is enough to get something useable.

Archer handed out flyers on how to make a worm bin, to those who stopped by and offered gummy worms.

showcasing the benefits of composting

Sarah Archer, president and CEO of Iris Waste Diversion Specialists, showcases composting benefits at the Michigan Recycling Coalition table at the latest Earth Day event. Brandon Howell | Washtenaw Voice

Among the ones who visited Archer’s table was Judy Bonnell-Wenzel, of Ann Arbor, who wore a light green shirt that announced “I love clean air.” She came to campus just for the Earth Day event.

“We need people, especially young people, to be aware, to protect the earth. We don’t know how much longer till we’re extinct,” Bonnell-Wenzel explained.

At the other end of the building was WCC’s Biology Department with its table answering the question, “Are planets intelligent?”

Sitting on the table was an orchid plant with a note explaining orchids deceive instincts to pollinate for them.

The orchid, Chiloglottis trapeziformis, lures the thynnine wasp by producing a scent similar to the one given by the female, it said.

“The plant glues pollen to the insect’s butt,” biology instructor David Wooten explained. “When the insect moves on to a different plant, it cross-pollinates.”

Ypsilanti Food Co-op display at Earth Day event

Ypsilanti Food Co-op representative Lisa Bashert, of Ypsilanti, educates Earth Day attendees about offerings at the Co-op, which has served the community since 1975. Brandon Howell | Washtenaw Voice

Wooten also presented the information about a new plant discovered in South Africa called the Boquila trifoliolata, which changes the shapes of its leaves to match the tree it hangs on.

The Leslie Science & Nature Center also had a display at the event, with a live barred owl and kestrel, birds native to Michigan.

Sarah Gilmore, of Tecumseh, answered questions from passersby while she held the owl in a gloved hand.

The owl does not have a name because it’s not a pet, Gilmore said. They do not name the birds because the center does not want children to think they can have owls for pets.

Those passing the table could see the wing and talon-foot of a great horn owl as well as the wing of a red-tailed hawk.

All of those presenting at Earth Day shared hopes that they could inspire and teach others to take care of the planet we call home. Knowledge is power, and everyone who attended the event walked away with a little more knowledge about how to take care of the planet we call home.





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