UM-Flint Hosts Earth Day Celebration

Photo+Credit%3A+Jyothsna+Ganesh

Photo Credit: Jyothsna Ganesh

Jyothsna Ganesh

 

A large-scale event to celebrate Earth Day was organized by the Environment, Health and Safety department on April 11 in the UM-Flint University Center. As a collaborative effort between Mott Community College, Kettering University and UM-Flint, this event is the largest Earth Day celebration in Genesee County.

Photo Credit: Jyothsna Ganesh

Future Urban & Environmental Leaders club provided promotional support through posters, email, and in-person volunteering.  The Earth Day event was also a culmination of weeklong events by FUEL to commemorate Earth Week.

As a community reach-out initiative to spread awareness about the importance of Earth’s natural resources, the participants and attendees were a mix of community residents, school kids and students from the local campuses. There were numerous activities to keep the attendees involved and interested.

The results of the sixth annual Flint College Town Recycling Challenge between Baker College, Mott Community College, Kettering University and UM-Flint were announced. There were two categories: most pounds of recyclables generated per campus, and most pounds of recyclables collected per student in a University. The first category was won by UM-Flint, with accumulation of over 21,000 pounds of waste comprising of glass, plastic, aluminum and metal cans, paper/newspapers, and [IS1] cardboards. The second category was won by Baker College. The recyclables were sent to a facility near Detroit where they could be recycled into anything from Frisbees and plastic containers to clothing.

The event included nearly 50 venders and exhibitors spread across all three floors of the UCEN. There were two live music performances by local musicians: Blue Train, Local Bluegrass and Jaime Marvin who is a local indie folk singer and songwriter.

The live animal exhibits were among everybody’s favorites. Nikki Mitchell from Pruess pets had brought Sue, the python; Fred, the 75-year-old tortoise; and a two-year-old bunny. There was also Nature Discovery, featuring reptiles and amphibians native to Michigan. There was also a presentation by Joe Rogers from Birds of Prey about Michigan’s birds and their habits.

 

Tables set up by FUEL sold seed balls, composed of clay and compost containing milkweed seeds, a primary food source for Monarch butterflies. These organic seed balls can be effortlessly tossed into the soil, and they germinate and grow under congenial weather conditions. Another similar activity was “make your seeds” where attendees made Origami cups to contain seeds.

Students of American Society of Mechanical Engineering made miniature wind turbines to demonstrate the use of natural resources to build a sustainable environment. There was also a cooking demo by a Sodexo chef: rice veggie wrap with carrots, tofu, red peppers, cabbage and lettuce. “Healthy Living Fair” had stalls selling natural products, cottage foods and green crafts.

 

The event was themed “Healthy Planet, Healthy People.” Keynote speaker, Dr. Partha Nandi, M.D., F.A.C.P., emphasized the importance of a healthy lifestyle and how it affects health on a daily basis. The takeaway message from his speech was eating healthy to avoid diseases and illness, rather than depending on medicines for a cure.

“We composted all the food scraps generated by the event so that it can be used for gardens within Genesee County,” said Brandon Eggleston, an Intern at EHS. “We also recycled all of the plastic, paper and cardboard so that instead of going into landfills and never being used again, they can be recycled for use. I think the event was a success because the university wants to make a permanent effort to have these stations around campus, not just for this one event.”

There were T-shirt painting stations where one could design environment-related logos and emboss them on plain t-shirts. Biodegradable ink was used for this activity. There was a bicycle tour around Downtown area, with Urban Garden, Flint Farmers’ Market and urban alternative housing being specific sites of interest.

Combined efforts were made by vendors and participants to make it a “zero waste” event by separating the waste generated during the event into recyclables, compost waste and waste for landfill.

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