Earth Day celebration brings light to how to be Earth-friendly all year

WCC students watching Leslie Science Center wild animal trainer David Clipner with his live wild owl on exhibit at WCC's Earth Day Festival. Evans Koukios | Washtenaw Voice

WCC students watching Leslie Science Center wild animal trainer David Clipner with his live wild owl on exhibit at WCC’s Earth Day Festival. Evans Koukios | Washtenaw Voice

BY JENEE GREGOR

Staff Writer

 

April is designated as Earth month, with a multitude of events that showcase ways to be more eco-aware and conscious about daily activities. An Earth Day event has been put on at WCC for the past 20 years, and this year the head of planning from the Sustainability Council, Dale Petty, along with Student Activities showed the school’s commitment to being more sustainable.

“I like to think of it as Earth Month, and we do whatever we can,” Petty said.

One of the graphic design classes created different posters for Earth Day that were put up all over the school, giving the students a sense of involvement and experience.

Biology Department faculty member David Wooten shows an endangered sea turtle specimen at the WCC Earth Day Festival.  This year's Biology Department message was about the loss of bio diversity and extinction. Evans Koukios | Washtenaw Voice

Biology Department faculty member David Wooten shows an endangered sea turtle specimen at the WCC Earth Day Festival. This year’s Biology Department message was about the loss of bio diversity and extinction. Evans Koukios | Washtenaw Voice

More tables were set up than can be mentioned, and all the organizations were educating about what they do for the earth and how others can get involved. Wheels in Motion bike shop representative Matt Yost was showing off some of their road bikes and talking about their “Go by Bike Top Ten List.”  Plus, the infinite gas mileage from riding a bike is a benefit, said Yost.

Friends of the B2B, or Border to Border bike trail, came to talk about their events and encourage people to do more biking. The B2B trail starts in Ypsilanti and heads through Ann Arbor, and eventually will go all the way to Dexter.

“We are trying to get students and staff to use the trail that is right outside of their door,” said Bruce Geffen, the affiliate of Friends of the B2B. They also have a Spring Ride put on by Bike Ypsi, in 3, 15, 30 and 40 mile routes.

The Huron and Clinton Metroparks came out to hand out maps, and  give details about using the parks and what they are doing for the environment. Mark Irish, an interpreter to the naturalist position offered this piece of advice for people looking to be more Earth forward in the area to, “Let your native plants grow.”  Native plants are those that are naturally growing in this area, before it was settled by the Europeans long ago.  These plants are better for maintaining a balanced ecosystem. Irish mentioned that in the parks they are doing invasive plant removal and doing more native plantings to maintain the ecosystem.

A Diamondback rattle snake specimen on show at the WCC Earth Day. Evans Koukios | Washtenaw Voice

A Diamondback rattle snake specimen on show at the WCC Earth Day. Evans Koukios | Washtenaw Voice

Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti District Libraries had representative tables making crafts, including paper cut outs and buttons, and handed them out to the passersby.

Ypsilanti District Library has a seed library, much like WCC’s, and has an upcoming workshop that educates people about the seed saving practices, taught by Stefanie Stauffer, a WCC instructor. Recycle Ann Arbor brought information about how to be more involved with recycling and what resources are available within Ann Arbor.

“Recycle Ann Arbor is a non-profit contracted by the city, not part of the city system,” said Lisa Perschke, a recycling program specialist, master composter and gardener.

Recycle Ann Arbor attended to help people sign up for programs, and to educate.  Perschke mentioned that they are the re-use center in Ann Arbor and help people find place for hard-to-recycle items. The message is that if someone wanted to recycle something that was at least possible to be recycled, they are the ones who make it happen.

WCC Core Garden showcased some of their accomplishments, and asked for volunteers to work in the hoop houses, or enclosed greenhouses, near campus. Most of the food they grow goes to Garrett’s, the restaurant in the Student Center, creating a small food loop within the campus.

Organic vegetables that are grown in WCC's Core Garden, and serve at Garrett's Restaurant are on display at WCC’s Earth Day Festival. Evans Koukios | Washtenaw Voice

Organic vegetables that are grown in WCC’s Core Garden, and serve at Garrett’s Restaurant are on display at WCC’s Earth Day Festival. Evans Koukios | Washtenaw Voice

The City of Ann Arbor was educating people on what they are doing for the community, and have very lofty, yet attainable goals. Josh MacDonald, environmental affiliate with the city, shared that they hope to have carbon emissions down by 25 percent by 2025, and down by 80 percent by 2050, by implementing more and more from the Climate Action Plan.

April is Earth Month but shouldn’t be relegated to only being conscious in April, take shorter showers, turn off some lights, and plant a tree at any time.  Each thing that can be done in small steps makes it easier to think of in the future.

EARTH DAY FUN FACTS:

  • Earth Day originated in 1970, spurred by a massive 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, Calif.
  • Earth Day is April 22, or the last Friday of April
  • Earth Day inspired support which led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and contributed to the passage of the Clean Air Act

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