ECO members prepare for Earth Week
April 12, 2007
With Earth Week set for April 16-20, members of the Earth Conscious Organization (ECO) have been busy preparing a slew of events to get the UW-River Falls community involved.
“We’re just hoping for a good turnout,” ECO co-president Sarah Knorr said.
Next week’s events will be the second year in a row ECO, an environmental interest group whose main goal is to help the campus and community become more sustainable, will be recognizing Earth Week with a five-day itinerary of events.
ECO member Matthew Meyer said he and fellow member Paul Erdmann organized the events last year. Now that there are more people involved with ECO, involvement in organizing the events has increased.
The week will kick off at 5:30 p.m. on Monday. ECO will meet in the University Center before heading out to the south fork of the Kinnickinnic River to collect trash. Everyone is invited to help with the project. Disposed items collected will be displayed on the lawn of the University Center.
“It should be there all week to show how much we collected and what we did,” Knorr said of the trash display.
Last year, things such as tires, folding chairs and crates were found and displayed. Hundreds of pounds of garbage is collected each year.
“There was a whole bunch of weird stuff in there,” Knorr said of the findings along the river last year.
Between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tuesday, ECO will be holding a “Bottle Biology” session in the lobby of the University Center. During this event, those in attendance will learn how to make a self-watering pot out of recycled bottles. Once the pots are created, seeds will be available for planting.
Everything from bottles to seeds will be provided by ECO, but Knorr said people can bring their own seeds if they wish to plant something in particular. The session is free for those who make a monetary donation to ECO, but Knorr said anything people wish to give to the organization will be accepted.
Earth Week continues at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday with a tour of the Pierce County Recycling Center in Ellsworth, Wis. The first 30 people to sign up will take a free tour of the facility, during which they will learn what happens to the county’s recyclables once they leave the curb. Questions about the tour can be directed to Katherine Kasnia at email@example.com (if e-mail is back up before then).
The 2nd Annual Drive to Not Drive event will take place on April 19. Students who commute to campus are encouraged to ride their bicycles or carpool. ECO will be offering free food and bicycle tune-ups in the University Center lawn; door prizes and environmental information will also be given out. Erdmann said the bicycle tune-ups will be done by a mechanic from The Route Bike Shop.
“He puts air in tires, greases the chain, checks the brakes and checks for minor stuff,” Erdmann said. “If he sees anything major, he leaves a note for the owner to come down to their shop.”
Those interested in having their bicycles checked over can leave them with the tune-up crew and pick them up by 4 p.m. in front of the University Center. From 12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m. April 20, the grand opening of the green kiosk in the University Center will take place.
The kiosk contains information about the sustainability features of the University Center, as well as an interactive touch-screen display.
“It’s a hands-on display to display for students and faculty,” Meyer said, adding that having such a display gives the campus community a physical example of what the University Center has to offer environmentally. Oberlin College environmental studies professor David Orr will be on hand during the ceremony and will be giving a talk later in the day.
Meyer said plant and earth science professor Kelly Cain suggested bringing Orr to the University to speak. Meyer said Orr had already planned on being in the area, having scheduled talks in Eau Claire and Madison, so they inquired about him making a stop in River Falls.
At 4 p.m. Orr will be giving a public presentation entitled “Rumors of Unfathomable things of Politics and Climate Change.” A book signing and reception will follow the event.
Meyer said the event is scheduled at an unfortunate time due to the reservations for the ballroom, but hopes students will stick around campus to listen to Orr’s presentation.
Orr is also the chair of the Environmental Studies Program at Oberlin College and the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics.
He has authored five books and published 150 articles in scientific journals, social science publications and popular magazines.
“This guy is nationally known for his work with the environment,” Knorr said. “...It is an honor that he will be speaking at our school during Earth Week.”