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Opinion

Earth week gives students opportunity to get involved in community, campus activities

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April 18, 2013

Earth Day is officially Monday, April 22. At UW-River Falls though, we have eight consecutive days of meaningful events to celebrate and care for our planet.

1. Kick off Earth Week with a clean up of our favorite river.

From 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on Saturday,  April 20, at Glen Park join the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust (KRLT) and the UWRF Resource Management Club in the 19th annual Kinni River Clean up. You can help protect the health and beauty of the Kinni by volunteering your time to collect refuse along its banks. KRLT is expecting an even bigger turnout this year than last years’ nearly 100 volunteers.

Meet at the Glen Park Main Shelter (near the tennis courts) at 9 a.m. to sign in, get a map and assignment. The clean up is from 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

KRLT recommends wearing work gloves and boots and other protective gear as well as bringing a water bottle and snack. Lunch will be provided by the River Falls Rotary and The West Wind from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Pre-registry for this free event is appreciated. For details, email info@kinniriver.org or call (715) 425-5738.

2. Do the Math.

At 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 21, in the UC Trimbelle River Room. Fossil Free Falcons will be hosting a one-hour film of Bill McKibben’s “Do the Math” tour explaining climate change, followed by a 30 minute live stream discussion with a panel of national experts. If you’ve wanted a straightforward explanation about climate change and what we can do to change our future, this film is for you. Student officer and founder of Fossil Free Falcons, Danny Saunders, will be available for any additional questions.

3. Learn more about the Fossil Free Falcons’ campaign.

From 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m. on Monday, April 22, in the UC Theater a knowledgeable panel composed of students, faculty, and staff will discuss the fossil fuel divestiture campaign that is active on campus. Learn more about UWRF’s current investment in fossil fuels and how this may conflict with the University’s strategic plan that aims to “catalyze economic and sustainable community development.”

4. Engage with a world-renowned environmental activist.

At 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24, in KFA Abbott Concert Hall, Julia “Butterfly” Hill will be speaking on campus as part of the Wyman Series. Hill is most famous for her ecological activism that led to living 738 days in an old-growth California Redwood referred to as “Luna.” Hill was successful in preventing Luna from being logged as well as garnering national and international attention for the vulnerability and importance of old growth forests. Since 1999, after descending Luna for the first time in over two years, Hill has worked as a motivational speaker, writer, and mentor for people seeking social and ecological justice.

Meet this inspiring woman at 7:30 p.m. in the KFA Abbott Concert Hall. A Q&A session and book signing will follow.

Hill will also be part of a Talking Circle the following day (Thursday, April 25) from 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. in the St. Croix River Room of the UC. Both events are free and open to the public.

5. Experience “Ancient Wings: A Crane’s Story.”

The play can be seen at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 25-27 and May 2-4, plus a 3 p.m. matinee on Saturday, April 27, in KFA Blanche David Theatre. This play, featuring puppets, dance and projected scenery, is not simply a play. Created by professor Robin Murray, “The Crane Project” has worked collaboratively with hundreds of people from the campus and within the St. Croix Valley community to develop the performance and to raise awareness about this very special bird.

Additionally, Jeb Barzen, director of Field Ecology at the International Crane Foundation, will speak at a brown bag luncheon at 12 p.m. on Friday, April 26, in the UC Trimbelle River Room. Barzen’s talk is free and open to the public. Barzen will also lead a public discussion following the Friday night performance of “Ancient Wings.”
Tickets to “Ancient Wings” are $5 for students.

6. Attend the Outdoor Film Festival.

From 7 p.m.-11 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, at UC Fire Pit: Kinni Outdoor Adventures (KOA) is hosting their second annual outdoor film festival. The event is free. S’mores, yard games, a bonfire and slack-line will be provided (slack-lining is like a loose tightrope balance challenge).

KOA is featuring some short films as well as Seth Warren’s documentary “Nature Propelled.” Warren and his crew traveled in an eco-friendly fire truck to follow the life cycle of water while also engaging the public in discussion about outdoor sports, renewable energy and lifestyle changes that can mutually benefit the earth and the people that make them.
7. Partake in pedal power.

From 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. on Friday, April 26, at Veteran’s Park: We Bike River Falls’ first community bike ride of the year will end up at the Kinni Outdoor Adventures Bike Garage Grand Opening at the Knowles garage.

8. Get dirty in the brand new student garden.

From 5 p.m.-7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 30, the Student Alliance for Local and Sustainable Agriculture is breaking ground in the first-ever UWRF student garden. All students, faculty, staff and community members are welcome in sharing in this opportunity.

You are invited to help stake out the garden plots, weed, and plant early season vegetables for the garden. This first season’s goal is to grow vegetables to make salsa to sustainably fulfill the operating costs of the garden.

Rain or shine, follow the signs on campus to the student garden, just beyond the amphitheater on the path to the athletic fields.

Molly Breitmün is a non-traditional student majoring in conservation with a minor in GIS. Her interest in campus sustainability was fostered by becoming an undergraduate fellow for the St. Croix Institute for Sustainable Community Development as well as by her peers in the Student Alliance for Local and Sustainable Agriculture.