Macoskey Center celebrates Earth Day

Students and faculty organize annual Earth Fest

Published by Kayla Raynak, Date: April 11, 2024
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Earth Day takes place April 22 and started in 1970, according to earthday.org. The holiday is celebrated all around the world as a way for people to give back and help the earth.

The Macoskey Center at SRU is currently preparing for their annual Earth Fest which will be held Saturday, April 20 from 12 to 5 p.m.

The event has been put on since the center opened on Earth Day in 1990.

People in the community of all ages gather at the Macoskey Center to celebrate the day. There will be various activities provided by different organizations and businesses for people to enjoy.

“Our Earth Festival today is kind of celebration of environmental education activities and programming for people of all ages,” Samantha (Sami) Bortz, director of the Macoskey Center said.

The center will have multiple activities including local venders, booths, live music and food.

There will be a full menu including vegetarian options.

The Equestrian Center will also be offering pony rides for children.

“It’s really an event that draws a lot of people in, who may not typically interact with Macoskey Center, or maybe even university at large. So, we get usually about 500 people that come to the event, which is awesome for the regional community,” Bortz said. “So, what I love about it is that it brings people in, and it gets them aware and excited about the environment about Earth Day, but also about the Macoskey Center and the work we are doing here.”

Bortz and her student team start early and take on different roles to make sure everything gets set up.

“It’s only made possible by all the people involved that are working on it, so everyone from musicians to the vendors to the different student clubs and organizations and departments on campus are helping us to put on educational activities,” she said. “The volunteers that we get during the event, it’s all making it possible. So, I love to come together as a community and that interaction to make this event possible.”

This free event provides individuals with fun and educational ways to be thinking about the earth.

“What I think is helpful about Earth Day is it’s one of the things that helps to refocus you recenter you on the needs of needing to change our approach and how we interact with the world around us and especially the natural world, the environment,” Bortz said. “It helps to kind of refocus us on ‘okay, I need to really get my gear together, to get my act together around making a difference on this planet so that future generations enjoy clean water and clean air and clean soil, fresh produce nutrient-dense produce, you know, all these different layers that are what makes a positive environment that’s not only sustaining and good for people today but for the future as well as the plants and animals that we share this earth with.’”

The Student Sustainability Project Showcase is a more recent addition to the event. Students can use this opportunity to present projects or research they have done, whether it is work they have done with a professor or for their senior capstone project.

Heather Kustaborder, an occupational therapy doctoral student will be doing an activity throughout the entire event that is related to sensory kits.

The Macoskey Center previously hosted a workshop called “Nurture with Nature Sensory Based Programming.”

The project explains how to use nature and outdoor exploration to meet kids’ sensory needs as they grow. They will have an activity for children to participate in at Earth Fest.

The event will happen rain or shine.

Individuals can continue to check social media for other Earth Month events happening throughout the month at the Macoskey Center or SRU. One of the events they will have is “Birds and Bagels” on April 9 and 23.

“I love that the event itself brings not only SRU students, but community members and we see the little kids getting involved in the educational activities and all the booths and the things that we have on the property,” Tiffany Wolf, a sustainability education graduate assistant said. “Just getting little people to older people excited about Earth Day and sustainability and the property in general and being outside in nature is probably my favorite part.”

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