Planting a new tradition to celebrate Earth Day

SUNY Morrisville students plant a tree
Published date

As the world came together to acknowledge Earth Day this year, SUNY Morrisville was planting a new seed — a campus tradition that joined acts of kindness with sustainability to celebrate the day.

The college’s Administrative Quad was at the center of kindness as students joined in food and clothing drives, a Be the Match bone marrow registry, campus cleanup projects, a tree planting, cooking demonstration, building birdhouses and bat boxes, making tie-dye bags with natural products and showing native plant sowing. 

The day portrayed how SUNY Morrisville students are already on track to become leaders in community efforts toward sustainability through academic programs and campus practices.

“Earth Day celebrations play an important role in raising awareness around environmental issues,” said Tara Shimer, workforce and partnership specialist and member of the college’s sustainability committee. “It was wonderful to see the excitement that our students, faculty and staff have when it comes to learning, teaching and researching about our environment.”

Rachel Soong, an aquaculture student, was among those showcasing a project during an Applied Learning Conference, which integrated applied learning and sustainability.

Her vibrant display explained spawning induction of two types of sea urchins — Orange Spine and Tuxedo — and their importance in the environment, grazing along rocks and traveling along the ocean floor eating algae.

Soong came to SUNY Morrisville from Long Island seeking a program that would bond her with nature and give her a chance to improve the environment.

“Environmental education is vital,” Shimer said. “It teaches individuals and the community about the environment and its related issues and makes them think about solutions to issues that promote sustainability.”

Other students engaged in a student-led virtual conference, The Student Efforts to Advance Sustainability in New York (SEAS NY). The student-founded conference aims to engage, inspire and empower students to enact sustainable change on campuses in New York State. 

Earth Day roots are deeply planted at SUNY Morrisville, as one of its founding trustees, Liberty Hyde Bailey, authored many articles and monographs affirming the symbiotic relationships between agriculture, social fabric and the environment.

“As we celebrate Earth Day, let us take special pride in the knowledge that Morrisville was founded by a pioneer in both agriculture and education, one who would be proud of the commitment we have made to educate generations of leaders who have become contemporary ‘caretakers’ of his Holy Earth,” said SUNY Morrisville President David Rogers.

What is Earth Day?

In 1970, then Senator Gaylord Nelson, of Wisconsin, worked to establish the first Earth Day as a celebration of and a commitment to Earth. Since that time, each April 22 has offered an opportunity for organizations and individuals everywhere to review and renew commitments to preserve the many natural gifts bestowed by our planet. 

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