With a long, cold winter, students and faculty are yearning to get outside.
The Office of Campus Sustainability, in partnership with the Green Dragons, will hold an Earth Day celebration on Friday, in hopes of getting people outdoors to enjoy some sunshine.
“This year, it’s just getting together and hopefully being able to get outside,” said Joe Herbst, coordinator of campus sustainability. “People that really enjoy the outdoors are going bananas. I think everyone is going bananas.”
The Earth Day celebration will include a free meal of local and sustainable foods, musical performances by two regional bands and a sustainability expo with about 12 local exhibitors.
“Mostly we want to bring the lesser-known elements of sustainability to the students,” said Lee Smalt, an anthropology sophomore and student organizer. “That’s why we wanted to bring in local food sources, local musicians.”
Herbst added: “We’re serving buffalo burgers all raised organically. They are organic grass-fed buffalo raised by family farmers, and we’ve got potatoes from the Red River Valley.”
The two bands are Gypsy Lumberjacks from Minneapolis and Black River Revue from Duluth and Superior, Wis.
“(Gypsy Lumberjacks) is a collection of Minneapolis musicians, most of them older, that have played in multiple groups” Smalt said. “It’s mostly acoustic music … folk-jam.”
The other band, Black River Revue, is the remains of the bluegrass rock band, A Night in the Box.
The bands will perform from 4 to 6 p.m. on the Holmquist Slab.
Along with the meal and music, students and faculty are encouraged to take a tour of the greenhouse between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
“A large part of this was kind of stemmed from the aquaponics,” Smalt said.
Aquaponics is a self-contained water cycle that nourishes both plants and fish, he said. “It’s kind of its own eco system.
“Instead of using chemical-based fertilizer to fertilize the plants, you’re using fish poop, but not solid fish poop just nutrient,” Herbst said. “It ends up being a really environmentally friendly way to fertilize plants.”
There are two larger aquaponics systems in the greenhouse, and Smalt said he hopes to have a smaller model during the expo to demonstrate how it works and show people that it can be done on a smaller scale at home with a basic fish tank.
The goal is to get people thinking about different ways they can contribute to sustainability, Herbst said, “and just appreciate the Earth – we only have one.”
For more information or to volunteer for the event, contact Joe Herbst at 218.477.2280.
BY JASMINE MAKI