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Calvin Plans Earth Week Events
posted April 10, 2007

Two Calvin groups with an environmental focus, the student-led Environmental Stewardship Coalition (ESC) and the Calvin Environmental Assessment Program (CEAP), are sponsoring a series of events from April 16-20 in recognition of Earth Week 2007.

All the events are being held in conjunction with the Embrace Our Place Festival, to be held April 16 through April 23 as a celebration of the liberal arts in community.

Calvin's Nate Haan“It’s a time for us to be intentional and focus on the earth and the environment and how important that is,” says Calvin senior Nate Haan, a biology major and ESC co-chair of the annual celebration.

The ESC will host their yearly bicycle tune-up from noon to 4 pm on Monday, April 16, on the patio in front of Johnny’s Café. The coalition, in tandem with the Calvin Bike Club, will perform free routine maintenance on all the bikes brought to them. This year, the bike tune-ups are being offered on a Monday in anticipation of the Urban Bike Tours, to be held throughout the week as part of the Embrace Our Place Festival.

“We’ll probably grill veggie burgers too. It’s kind of an ESC tradition,” Haan says about the Monday event. “If you’re going to eat a burger, a veggie burger is the environmentally friendly version.”

On Tuesday, April 17, from 10 am through 4 pm, the ESC will be hosting an “Earthkeeping” information table at Johnny’s. The group will pass out flyers on recycling along with maps of bus routes and local businesses to encourage students to cut down on automobile use. “They are also resources for students to get out and see some of these cool places in Grand Rapids,” Haan adds.

Come Thursday, April 19, from 3:30–5 pm, the ESC will be installing a new rain garden on the Calvin campus. The students, along with experts from the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC), will plant wetland plants like swamp milkweed and Bladdernut shrubs to absorb and filter campus drainage in a bowl-shaped area between DeVries Hall and Spoelhof Center.

“It’s like a big sponge,” says Haan about the garden. “It mitigates the runoff from the campus and anything that could be harmful from the fertilizers. It’s a cool opportunity for us to use plants that are native to Michigan as landscaping and then as a function.”

The CEAP-sponsored events kick off on Friday, April 20 with the CEAP 10th Anniversary Celebration, to be held from 3:30 through 5:30 pm at the Vincent and Helen Bunker Interpretive Center. The center will display posters highlighting 10 years of faculty research done under the auspices of CEAP, which was founded in 1997 to involve students in studying the campus environment. Chemistry professor Ken Piers will deliver a “State of the Campus Report.”

The anniversary celebration continues from 1 p.m. to 3:30 pm on Saturday, April 21 with the CEAP Field Day, also held at the Bunker Center. Visitors will be encouraged to visit a number of interactive field stations to get educated about rain gardens, native plant gardens, wind energy (at the newly erected campus wind turbine), pedal power for electricity, tree identification and—by testing Ecosystem Preserve ponds—water chemistry.

The ESC and volunteers from Calvin’s Service-Learning Center will be helping out at the CEAP celebrations. Haan, who will be tagging the trees for identification, says it’s important to take a week to focus on the earth.

“There’s been a lot of talk around Calvin about what the environment means in a Christian place, and I think we’re starting to value that a little more.”

~written by Calvin staff writer Myrna Anderson

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