Penn State Berks celebrates Earth Day with EarthFest and other events

Highlights are talk and workshops by sustainability advocate Dominic Frongillo
Earth Fest stations shows paper footprint of one student

The Earth Fest station from the 2017 Earth Day event at Penn State Berks shows the paper footprint for one student.

Credit: Penn State

READING, Pa. — Driven by a strategic University initiative and an expanding individual and collective campus consciousness regarding the importance of sustainability, Penn State Berks will host a number of sustainability-related events in the two weeks leading up to Earth Day, which will be celebrated on April 22.

Mahsa Kazempour, associate professor of science education, who is directing the Earth Day events, said April’s programs, and other sustainability-related events and activities throughout the year, reflect the increasing importance of environmental issues for the University and the comprehensive integration of Penn State’s Sustainability Strategic Plan into research, teaching, outreach and operation at Penn State Berks.

Mahsa Kazempour

Mahsa Kazempour, associate professor of Science Education, is directing the Earth Day events.

Credit: Penn State

“Last year’s Earth Day activities were quite successful and heavily supported by the campus and our local community. We are building on that this year with what we hope are exciting and engaging activities,” said Kazempour, who is also the leader of the Penn State Berks Sustainability Team.

This month’s Earth Day free and public activities include:

Friday, April 13

Dominic Frongillo, outspoken and internationally recognized sustainability advocate, will present his talk, “Taking Action in a Time of Change: How the Millennial Generation is Winning a Just and Sustainable Future," 7 p.m. in Luerssen Room 5.

Frongillo, whose accomplishments include being a five-time delegate to the United Nations and traveling to climate negotiations in Indonesia, Denmark, Mexico and South Africa; will also conduct student and public workshops and host a student dinner during his visit, which is co-sponsored by the Office of Campus Life.

Wednesday, April 18

Earth Fest will feature more than two dozen stations, activities, demonstrations, special events, prizes and a photo contest, from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the Perkins Lawn. Stations staffed by students, Sustainability Team members and local organizations will focus on saving bees, conservation internships, endocrine disruptors, the Schuylkill River Trail, Sierra Club, the Penn State Berks Center for Agricultural Sciences and Sustainable Environment, Berks League of Women Voters, biogas, plastic bottle greenhouses, addressing the spotted lantern fly, and other topics. A raffle-ticket drawing for eco-friendly prizes will take place at 1 p.m.

Thursday, April 19

Students from Kazempour’s three sections of the college’s BI SC 003 Environmental Science course will offer poster presentations of their semester service-learning and community engagement Environmental Awareness and Community Action Projects (EACAP), from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Gaige Technology Building Lobby, carried out with the Nolde Environmental Education Center, the City of Reading’s Glenside Elementary School, and Reading’s City Park Permaculture and Greenhouse.

Friday, April 20

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Kazempour and her BI SC 003 Environmental Science course students will host 55 Glenside Elementary fifth graders for a visit to participate in a number of Earth Day-related activities, including a tour of the Penn State Berks Center for Agricultural Sciences and Sustainable Environment Greenhouse with John Rost, Lab Supervisor for Biology and Horticulture. This is the third year Kazempour is hosting this visit.

Penn State Berks commitment sustainability is evident. More than 150 teams have completed environmentally related service learning projects, including removal of invasive species and planting native species; the creation of rain gardens; designing rain barrels; developing signage, brochures and education materials for local elementary schools and environmental centers; cleaning up rivers and trails; helping with the redevelopment of a local school garden; creating educational videos about important issues such as food waste; and building and maintaining owl and bluebird nests.

“Earth Day at Penn State Berks becomes more important each year. Activities such as EarthFest enable our staff, students and faculty to show how much the environment and sustainability mean to us and how much we value our working relationships with Reading and Berks County residents and organizations," explained Kazempour.

For more information on the Penn State Berks April 2018 Earth Day events, as well as the college’s sustainability initiatives, contact Kazempour at [email protected]