Daniel Morgan, Advertising Manager
The 46th annual Earth Day falls on April 22, 2016, and several groups and individuals on campus have scheduled programs to engage the West Liberty University community as well as the surrounding area.
Environmental Education Day (WLUEED) was held in the Student Union Ballroom from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20 for its fourth consecutive year. Run by Dr. Dave Thomas, there were various participating organizations from around the area promoting environmental sustainability information, including the Wheeling Green Table, the West Virginia Naturalist Program, and the Schrader Environmental Center.
For Earth Day itself, biology professor Karen Kettler has worked with one of her classes’ students to prepare a program at West Liberty Elementary School.
“I am conducting a problem-based learning experience with my Bio 340 class (Life Science II for Elementary majors), during which they develop and implement a lesson about sustainability for West Liberty Elementary students,” Kettler said. The lesson will take place this Friday, Earth Day itself.
Some of the students in the Community Education program, who are affiliated with various non-profit organizations throughout the Ohio Valley, have plans to participate in programs outside of the campus community as well.
“This is the semester where many of the Community Education students are participating in internships, so we do not have one specific project planned for Earth Day,” Community Education Director Dr. Miriam Roth-Douglas said. “However, many of the students took it upon themselves to get involved in their own programs on and off-campus.”
With one of the Community Education majors being Outdoor Education, some of the integrated courses include “Outdoor Learning Spaces” and “Community Empowerment and Engagement.” According to Douglas, plans are in place for a Community Education Club, which will be open to students in any major.
“The club will organize events in the future, and hopefully plans for Earth Day will be involved,” Douglas said.
The Community Education Program is modeled in-part by the phrase, ‘Return, Rediscover, Reconnect.’ With Outdoor Education in particular, one of the key objectives is to create models that do not rely so heavily on technology and focus on the outdoors and nature.
“Part of the program is about the lifelong learning aspect,” Douglas said. “We think of an entire span of ages when it comes to education, form young children to the elderly.”
“In our study abroad trip to Germany, we visited a forest kindergarten,” Douglas sad. “No matter the weather or the time of year, the kids are outside at all times. It was very interesting, and I could only dream for someone to establish something like that around here.” The forest kindergarten will be visited in this year’s trip to Germany as well.
Earth Day is the largest civic observance in the world with more than one billion participants in 196 countries. Founded by the Earth Day Network in 1970, it is a “movement that continues to inspire, challenge ideas, ignite passion, and motivate people to action.”
For more information on how to get involved with Earth Day, go here.
Photo provided by Mirriam Roth-Douglas