David McKinney/University Relations

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little signed a proclomation declaring April 22 Earth Day at KU. The proclomation notes KU's work to further the cause of sustainability, and calls on the campus community to help pursue a healthier environment. Pictured, from left, are Jeff Severin, director, Center for Sustainability; Stacey Swearingen White, associate professor of urban planning and associate director, environmental studies program and director of academic programs, Center for Sustainability; Ryan Callihan, KU Environs president; Matt Nahrstedt, Potter Lake Project president; Jason Hering, Student Environmental Advisory Board chair and KU Environs coordinator; Margaret Tran, CCO EARTH co-coordinator and KU Environs coordinator; Tyler Enders, From Blue to Green president; and Sen. Marci Francisco, analyst, Center for Sustainability.

Sustainability spotlight

KU to Celebrate 40th Anniversary of Earth Day

In 1970, Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin founded Earth Day to move environmental issues onto the national agenda. Supported by a grassroots effort, the first Earth Day is credited with encouraging the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and with helping build support for major environmental legislation such as the Endangered Species Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and amendments that strengthened the Clean Air and Water Acts.

Forty years later, April 22 is recognized globally as a day to raise awareness about environmental issues and celebrate accomplishments in the pursuit of a healthier, more sustainable environment. In the spirit of that movement, a number of events have been planned at KU on and around Earth Day. Featured events taking place on Earth Day, April 22, include:

Wescoe's Waste: In collaboration with KU Recycling, students in the Environmental Studies Capstone course will be conducting a waste audit of Wescoe Hall from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Stauffer-Flint lawn. In addition to sorting through the garbage to determine how much of our “trash” is actually recyclable, KU recycling will provide information about junk mail reduction and the new printer cartridge recycling services on campus.

Earth Day Field Day: Student Union Activities is celebrating Earth Day by providing a break from the day to enjoy yard games, an environmental information fair and free popcorn and wildflowers. Activities will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m on the Kansas Union Plaza.

Earth Day Lecture - The Struggle for a Healthy Environment: the Legacies of Rachel Carson and Earth Day: Nancy Langston, professor of environmental studies and forestry and wildlife ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will present the Earth Day lecture at 7:30 p.m. in the Big 12 Room at the Kansas Union. The lecture will be followed by a book signing for Langston’s book, “Toxic Bodies: Hormone Disruptors and the Legacy of DES.”

In addition, the Center for Sustainability will be publishing “CAP-KU: Creating a Climate Action Plan for the University of Kansas” on Earth Day. CAP-KU is a project initiated in spring 2009 by a graduate course that completed a greenhouse gas inventory for the KU Lawrence campus and provided recommendations for reducing our campus emissions. The center has since worked to refine greenhouse gas estimates and added to the original report submitted by the class. The document identifies campus emission sources, outlines past and current efforts to address the impact of these sources, and proposes opportunities to reduce emissions. The full report and updated greenhouse gas inventory will be available at sustainability.ku.edu/CAP-KU/.

For those interested in getting their hands dirty in support of sustainability initiatives on campus, a service day is planned for April 24 at Potter Lake and the KU Student Raingarden at the Ambler Student Recreation Fitness Center. Projects will include raking vegetation from the edges of the lake, planting perennials around the Dance Pavilion and cleaning the grill pits and surrounding area, as well as weeding and mulching at the raingarden. Volunteers can meet at either location at 10:30 a.m., with work continuing throughout the morning. For details and a complete listing of other sustainability-themed activities taking place this week, visit conserveku.com.

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Lynn S. Villafurerte, program coordinator, Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program and Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity
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