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UMPI celebrates 40th annual Earth Day with slate of events

Monday, 12 April 2010

The University of Maine at Presque Isle will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on Thursday, April 22, with a day-long schedule of environmentally friendly-themed events, from a morning ceremony at the UMPI wind turbine site to an afternoon tree planting.

Celebrated by countries around the world, Earth Day is a day focused on awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. The first Earth Day was held in 1970.

"Issues around the environment and sustainability efforts have long been important to us at the University of Maine at Presque Isle and we are very pleased to be offering a full day of events in honor of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day," President Don Zillman said. "This is a time for all of us to reaffirm our commitment to the environment and we invite the community to join us for these Earth Day events."

Earth Day celebrations will begin at UMPI with a Bird Walk led by Dr. Jason Johnston, Assistant Professor of Wildlife Ecology, beginning at 7 a.m. Walkers will meet at the UMPI Library for this rain or shine event.

At 10 a.m., UMPI officials, and campus and community members will gather at the wind turbine site, located near the university's athletic fields at the southern end of campus, for a short ceremony that will mark the first anniversary of an important milestone in UMPI's wind turbine project. The successful assembly of the University's 600 kW wind turbine, the very first mid-size wind turbine to be installed on a university campus in the State of Maine, was completed - from tower parts to nacelle and blades - on April 19, 2009. The rain location for this event is the Multi-Purpose Room of the Campus Center.

The ceremony marking this occasion will include a Native drumming song, remarks by UMPI officials involved in the wind turbine project, and end with a special collaborative art installation that will allow participants to reaffirm their commitment to the environment by adding messages, drawings and hand prints on a large display board that will be placed in a prominent spot on campus for the rest of Earth Day.

Immediately following the ceremony, Dr. Jason Johnston, Dr. Bob Pinette, and student Jenn Prokey will lead a Nature Walk around campus, taking participants to important natural areas including the West Campus Woods, the Central Campus Park Woods, and the newly added Wabanaki Heritage Project Garden. This event will not take place in the event of rain.

At 2 p.m. on the east lawn of Normal Hall, the Native Voices student club and Project Compass officials will lead a tree planting of two lodgepole pine trees. These trees have special significance to Native American tribes, specifically those of the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regions. The tree planting will include a Native blessing.

Earth Day events will culminate at 7 p.m. in the Campus Center with the showing of the 80-minute film A Chemical Reaction: The Story of a True Green Revolution followed by a discussion panel. The film's Executive Co-Producer and founder of SafeLawns, Paul Tukey, will participate in the discussion via internet phone. A Chemical Reaction is a documentary film about a small town that stood up to the giant chemical companies, starting with one lone voice in 1984 - a dermatologist who noticed a connection between her patients' health conditions and their exposure to chemical pesticides and herbicides.

For more information about all of the Earth Day events that will be held at UMPI, please call 768-9452.