The Office of Sustainability has been celebrating “Earth Month” for the entirety of April. On Wednesday, it will cap off the celebration with tree giveaways, root mapping and awards at its Earth Day and Arbor Day events.
Ohio University was named a Tree Campus USA this year, which requires an Arbor Day celebration. Arbor Day, a day dedicated to planting and caring for trees, is traditionally celebrated on April 28, so the Office of Sustainability will incorporate some tree-centered activities into its Earth Day events to turn two celebrations into one.
The day will kick off at 11 a.m. in Punchard Park with yard games, face painting and herb and spice plant giveaways. There will also be “compost cookies” made with a solar-powered oven. In honor of the new Tree Campus USA designation, there will be sapling giveaways, and the Office of Sustainability tree care coordinator Kristeena Blaser will map the roots of one of the elm trees in the park.
If you go:
What: Arbor Day Celebration
When: 11 a.m., Wednesday
Where: Punchard Park (outside Walter Hall)
What: Sustainability Awards Reception
When: 5 p.m., Wednesday
Where: Walter Hall Rotunda
Blaser, a graduate student studying environmental studies, spent fall semester working to fill out the extensive application required to become a Tree Campus USA. This semester, she’s worked to organize the dual celebration of Arbor Day and Earth Day.
Along with the root mapping, she’ll teach attendees the importance of trees and their roles in reducing carbon dioxide in the air, cleaning water and adding stability to soil.
“I think that it’s important to continue to spread knowledge as much as you can and increase people’s understanding of what the earth does and why it’s important to be sustainable in any way that they can," Blaser said. “I think it’s going to be super rewarding.”
The Sustainability Awards reception will follow the celebration in the park starting at 5 p.m. Several organizations and local environmental enthusiasts will gather in Walter Hall Rotunda to share what they’ve been doing to honor the earth during the past year. The Office of Sustainability will present its awards to winners in several categories such as research, residency and faculty and staff achievements.
Joe Brehm, the keynote speaker for the day, will begin his address around 5:30 p.m. in the rotunda. Brehm is the environmental education coordinator for Rural Action and plans to discuss the lessons he’s learning on sustainability and environmentalism in his academic and professional careers, along with Rural Action’s work in those fields.
“(Rural Action is) really focused on projects that are good for the environment and also good for the community and the economy,” he said. “I think we’re a group that can help put some of these ideas into practice and also give people the outlet or the opportunity to engage in solutions to the problem.”
Brehm is looking forward to engaging with those who attend the event and reflecting on the progress the environmental movement has made since the first Earth Day in 1970.
“Most years, I forget about Earth Day because my job and my passion is to treat every day like that, with that mentality,” he said. “But it’s always good to have reminders and ceremonies and I think that it’s a good way to bring people together to revisit the idea that this planet is special and we need to do our part to take care of it and each other.”