Planet-Friendly Activities Now A Month-Long Endeavor

Jamestown Community College and the State University of New York at Fredonia both have various events planned to promote Earth Month. P-J photo by Jordan W. Patterson

Earth Day came and went, but for many the planet-friendly holiday really extends the length of an entire month that has no age limit on who can be involved.

At Jamestown Community College, the annual Earth Day festival, known as Earthfest, will be held Wednesday, but prior to the festivities local school districts participated in the college’s Earth Day-themed poster contest. All events are organized by the Earth Awareness Club at JCC.

“We don’t really just celebrate Earth Day; we celebrate Earth Month,” said Jan Bowman, co-chair of the Earth Awareness Club.

Fourth grade students from Panama Central School, Ring Elementary School and Erie-2 BOCES Hewes Center all submitted posters with awareness-related messages written across drawings. With some posters that read, “Be a bee buddy,” “Save the ocean” and “Recycle, Reuse, Reduce,” students submitted their work to JCC with hopes of placing in the top three spots of the contest. Bowman believes the poster contest has been around for operation for 20 years.

Bowman, professor of biology and coordinator of the Environmental Science Program, emphasized that raising awareness among children when they’re young is important. Many of the students involved in the club divulge to Bowman that the reason they are passionate about Earth awareness is because they made a connection with nature at a young age.

“I think that’s part of what we’re trying to prompt (with the poster contest),” she said. “It’s to help students make that connection with nature. It’s kind of a mission for me.”

Bowman has been involved in the corresponding club since its inception in 1990. Over that time, Bowman said participation from college students has always been strong.

“The students that are there are usually very passionate,” she said. “Sometimes I worry that we’re not going to have enough hands, but quite often the small group can move mountains if they have enough passion.”

On Monday, a guest speaker addressed Bowman’s students in one of her biology classes in association with Earth Day.

The Earthfest event being held Wednesday will feature Jeff Musial, who has appeared on the “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.” Musial will present a program with animals from Nickel City Reptiles and Exotics at noon at the Hamilton Collegiate Center. At 11 a.m., a musical performance will be provided by Jamie Haight.

Next week, the college will participate in Arbor Day by planting a tree in commemoration. JCC has remained a Tree Campus USA college since it became the state’s first community college to earn such title.

The State University of New York at Fredonia is also participating in what has become Earth Month. The university will host a variety of events leading up to the culminating Spring Fest on Sunday which is designed to raise money for planting trees.

The conservation and awareness movement was also present at the county level. County Executive George Borrello said employees were all provided reusable water bottles along with the installation of water bottle refilling stations at each of the county’s offices to help reduce the use of plastic bottles. He estimated close to 20,000 bottles were avoided by the county’s efforts.

In the two Mayville offices alone, Borrello said 9,020 potential plastic bottles were eliminated from use. The stations were only installed a few months ago leaving Borrello hoping the yearly total will be much greater. He described county’s efforts as an attempt to “lead by example.”

He praised Earth Day as a moment in time where the county can “highlight” the positive efforts to conserve and help prevent pollution. However, for Borrello, the county’s efforts go beyond a single day and an entire month.

“It’s more about, to me, that we’re doing things on an ongoing basis,” he said.

He said the collaboration with local municipalities to take in recycled materials even though it has become a “cost burden” to the county continues. He said despite the burden, the county will proceed with its efforts to “ensure those items are properly handled.”