Husky Nation embraced Earth Day with a full week celebration and meaningful opportunities to learn about the earth and how we can take care of it. Led by Science Faculty and Sustainability Coordinator Bekka Joslin, each day of the week has had a different emphasis connected to the theme "Reducing your Carbon Footprint."
Monday offered a great start to the week of celebrating the earth as it also coincided with our 3rd Service Learning Day of the year. It was a beautiful spring day and many groups worked outside, some on nearby farms and others doing spring clean-up at nearby residences, along roadsides and on campus.
Students worked at Beans and Greens in Gilford, Fresh Start Farm in Dunbarton, Chestnut Meadow Farm in Sandwich, and Picnic Rock Farm in Manchester doing outdoor farm work and planting. Students also visited Whole Village Eco-Learning Garden in Plymouth, the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, and Laconia Area Community Land Trust among other nearby organizations.
On campus, a group of students also worked in the New Hampton School greenhouse. Each year, the farm team works to maintain the greenhouse, planting seeds, cultivating plants and caring from worms that also help keep plants and root systems healthy. This particular group prepped plant-trays for our Greens for Graduation project, in addition to other annual maintenance projects. Throughout the year, and especially in the summer months, the greenhouse grows flowers and vegetables that support the whole community, color our campus and feed hungry individuals.
Today, Friday, is Eat Local Day and we celebrated this initiative with several activities. Following school meeting, every advisory group planted a bed of greens from seeds that will grow to be harvested for our Senior Dinner, the night before Commencement. The annual gesture celebrates a healthy, vibrant community invested in caring for each other. In several weeks, a group of students will join Mrs. Joslin and other faculty in the greenhouse to harvest the greens as we prepare to send off our seniors.
In addition to the work done on neighboring farms on Monday, another way to support eating local is to support our local pollinators – the bees! After planting Greens for Graduation, we supported our local pollinator populations and our local food supply, by planting a pollinator garden. This activity included a gratitude exercise. Advisee groups received small slips of paper, on which they each write a short note to the Earth – expressions of gratitude, wishes for the Earth in the years ahead, or a cherished memory of time spent outside. The slips of papers and gestures of thanks will be mixed in beneath the soil in the pollinator garden to nourish the flowers in during the growing season.
Other daily themes included Meatless Monday, Zero Food Waste Tuesday, Reusable Water Bottle Wednesday, Compost Thursday and Eat Local Friday. On Saturday, a group of students will drive down to Concord, to participate in our regional March for Science. The March for Science is a global movement to defend the important role of science in our health, safety, economy and government. On Earth Day, Saturday, April 22nd, groups will march around the country in celebration of science.
We've had a fantastic week to celebrate the Earth and appreciate the beautiful region of Central New Hampshire where we live and learn. As the community gains increasing awareness for the earth and sustainability, we hope to only grow the healthy and meaningful ways in which we live on our campus, and in our own lives.