Earth Days 2012

More than hugging trees

Think Earth Day is all about hugging trees? Your thinking will change when you see what’s planned for JCCC’s Earth Days 2012, a week’s worth of events April 23-27 that showcase how the college is creating a culture of sustainability.

Each day’s activities focus on a different element of sustainability, from locally grown food to recycling to alternative commuting options.

“We wanted to showcase a wide range of sustainability fixtures and activities on campus, things that would capture a wider interest and audience,” said Kim Criner, sustainability education and engagement coordinator. “There really is something for everyone.”

Monday: From 10 a.m.-1 p.m., participants will plant and harvest spring produce on the two-and-a-half acre campus farm, located on the northwest corner of campus. Pre-registered volunteers will meet in the Horticultural Science Center near the farm, but anyone is permitted to just drop by and help out a bit or view the progress. The work day will proceed in light rain.

Tuesday: A pair of campus sustainability tours will give you an up-close look at the campus farm, solar power training facility, in-vessel composter, stormwater project and more. The walking tours start at noon and 2 p.m. from the steps of the Commons building on campus.

Wednesday: Recycling coordinator Michael Rea and student volunteers conduct a recycling and waste audit from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Courtyard Plaza. They’re building on an audit done in December 2010, which separated a random sampling of trash to see what was headed to the landfill that could have been recycled instead.

This audit will look at the trash cans as well as recycling bins to see how the campus is doing at separating landfill waste from recyclable materials through the college’s single-stream recycling program introduced in August. Students and employees at the school don’t have to separate their recyclables; instead, everything goes into a single bin.

Volunteers are needed for the waste audit.

Thursday: A gourmet seasonal three-course lunch prepared with products from the campus farm and other local sources runs from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in rooms 101 C and D of the Regnier Center. Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for everyone else. Tickets may be purchased in the JCCC business office, room 115 of the General Education Building, or online.

Friday: The week will be capped off with a sustainable transportation expo from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Commons Plaza. You can get your bike tuned up, check out several electrical vehicles and find out how much money you can save by car-pooling or taking the bus.

Wall-E, the 2008 Pixar hit that tells the tale of a small, waste-collecting robot whose space journey decides the fate of mankind, will be shown at noon in room 233 of the General Education Building. In addition, movie-goers will catch “The Story of Stuff” and a short film produced by the college’s advanced video production and broadcast performance students in cooperation with KCPT about the Johnson County landfill, bringing the conversation home to the college’s backyard.

Earth Days is sponsored by the JCCC Student Environmental Alliance, the Student Sustainability Committee and the JCCC Center for Sustainability, with assistance from the college’s dining services department, the campus farm and student activities.