Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day at WCC
This year, the annual Ann Arbor Earth Day celebration combines forces with WCC’s own Earth Day for a festival that combines education, entertainment, and fun in a location close to both Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. On Sunday, April 25, from noon to 4:00pm the Ann Arbor Area Earth Day Festival will fill WCC’s Morris Lawrence building and the surrounding campus green with Earth-focused exhibits and activities.
This free, family-friendly event features live music, entertainment, hands-on activities, and live animal exhibits. Displays from over 60 local environmental, nonprofit, and governmental organizations will focus on alternative energy, green building, conservation, sustainable agriculture, and more.
Forty years ago, the first Earth Day was declared on April 22, 1970. Established by the U.S. Senate as a “national teach-in on the crisis of the environment,” it focused attention on the environmental issues of the day. In that first year, Ann Arbor was at the forefront of Earth Day with nationally renowned speakers and citywide participation. Today the celebration takes many forms in many locations around the country, but it continues to be an opportunity for children and adults alike to learn more about caring for the natural environment.
Francie Krawcke, raptor specialist with the Leslie Science and Nature Center but more commonly known as “the bird lady,” is a familiar face at Earth Day celebrations, bringing the center’s owls, hawks, eagle, and other raptors for viewing.
These rehabilitated bird all have injuries that prevent them from surviving in the wild, but draw crowds who love the opportunity to see them up close. “I get so much energy back from the enthusiasm of the Earth Day participants,” she said. “Many people will come back to see the birds again and again. They really respond to the birds and want to know more about them and why we have them.
“Earth Day reminds me of the importance of the work I do every day.”
Nancy Stone, City of Ann Arbor public services communications liaison and longtime member of the Earth Day organizing committee, is pleased to bring the celebration to WCC. “The campus easily accommodates the 3,000-plus participants both indoors and outside, and the participation of WCC student infuses the celebration with the spirit of Earth Day for future generations,” she said.
WCC photography and graphic design students collaborated to create this year’s Earth Day poster. In one of the four posters selected to advertise the event, graphic design student Susan Smith and photography student Ashley Hubbard created a charming design of a small boy balancing the Earth over his head. All of the posters will be on display at the event. WCC music students will also perform original compositions on the theme of Earth and environment at the entertainment tent during the festival, and WCC Phi Theta Kappa members will volunteer during the event.
“I'm really excited that the City of Ann Arbor and WCC get to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day,” said Ian Griffin, director of Student Activities at WCC. “The city is in many ways a leader when it comes to environmentally progressive policies, and we think it is an excellent way for our students to get involved with environmental awareness and education. Our faculty has been working on projects all semester long, and this is a great way for our students to show off the skills they have learned in all of their various fields.”
This year, for the first time Earth Day will be a zero-waste event coordinated by Recycle Ann Arbor. With the assistance of exhibitors and food vendors, all waste will be composted or recycled and nothing will go into the landfill. Marked containers for compostable and recyclable material will be available throughout the festival.
One Earth Day Festival highlight will be the annual All Species Parade, in which participants young and old wear costumes representing their favorite plants and animals. The parade begins at 2:30pm and winds through the event area.
Ann Arbor Cohousing will once again provide free face painting, and The Scrap Box will sponsor musical instrument crafts. Stop in to see the Bubble Man, and be sure to make time for Brian Cressman’s reptile exhibit.
This year’s entertainment includes musician Joe Reilly, Sacred Song with Jeanne Mackey and Dale Petty, storyteller Darryl Mickens, and others.
Food will be on sale from Silvio’s Organic Pizza, Pilar’s Traditional Salvadoran and Latin Cuisine, and more.
For more information visit www.a2earthday.org.