Leah Willis '24
Apr 21, 2023
“What can you do for the planet?” is a question often asked on Earth Day. The day of recognition and awareness began in the spring of 1970, established by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson. At the time, there were no legal mechanisms to protect the environment and awareness of environmental degredation was growing. He wanted to bring the issue into the open, and now Earth Day remains a globally recognized event, even as the environmental conditions continue to deteriorate.
Of course, the question arises: How is Mercersburg acknowledging Earth Day? Director of Sustainability and the Green Team faculty adviser Will Willis explained, "On Earth Day, Trini and the SAC will offer several options like birdfeeder making and an outdoor scavenger hunt. The Green Team is also hoping to sell their T-shirts during the week, with the proceeds going to the replacement of a broken water fountain in the Mercersburg Elementary School that has a reusable water bottle-filling station." This is part of a project that Mikey Brannan '23 is conducting with his Community Engagement; he works with the 5th-grade science class at the elementary school. As a part of this, Brannan will be looking for Green Team members and other students to help with a water conservation program in a return to Project EDEN (EDEN stands for Earth Day Education and Networking), a program the Green Team participated in for almost a decade prior to the pandemic.
"The proceeds will also go towards, in part, the funding of the trees that are part of Nate Austin '23's reforestation project by the front gate," said Brennan. Austin conceived the idea for the project in the AS Environmental Science class in the spring of 2022 and has been working with Willis and the facilities on campus throughout the academic year to make this happen. He will plant over 400 trees in May.
Devin Rotz '25, one of the Green Team leaders, said, "Green Team will have a lot going on for and around Earth Day. We have a fun and educational movie/documentary night coming up. Trini has some fun activities to help us celebrate Earth Day." Grace Carter, 23' added, "We are also thinking about either doing another wildflower planting or a trash pickup event on back campus. As a campus, we are focusing on reducing food waste in our dining hall and reducing single-use plastic on campus."
Regarding future environmental plans for the spring term, Willis stated, "The Green Team is also poised and ready to educate the community about food waste when Meriweather Godsey begins to post data on food waste imminently. Also, as the weather transitions from cold to warm, the Green Team would like to politely remind you to please donate any unwanted clothing items to the Goodwill donation bins in every dorm."
So, as a campus community, everyone is doing their part to be environmentally conscious. So, what can you do for the planet?