A Season to Celebrate Earth

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The Green Dandelion hopes that you had a wonderful Earth Day yesterday! Here at the University of Rochester we are winding down from all the festivities, but only just in time to celebrate Arbor Day this Friday!

For Earth Day 2012, we had a series of events beginning last Thursday and lasting until Sunday. Our theme this year was “local” and we kicked it off with a great 100% Local Dinner held at our exclusive restaurant, the Meliora. On Friday we held our very first Waste-Free lunch. We are proud to report it went off without a hitch, of course it did take a bit of planning to accomplish. The post-consumer side was easy since Douglas Dining uses reusable plates, bowls, cups,  silverware, etc.  All food waste and napkins were composted while only a few items from the post-consumer side were recycled.  The challenging part was creating a menu so that the food packaging would not create any waste. That might sound simple, but keep in mind we do not have a means to recycle plastic bags or plastic wrap which are both used often for packaging food. Executive Chef, Tony Pignagrande, worked with bakeries to ensure that bread wouldn’t be wrapped in plastic and that produce came in crates. Bagged potato chips also had to come off the menu and prepped food was covered with either aluminum foil (recyclable) or wax paper (compostable). Team Green and Amy Kadrie were there to ignite some fun while educating students at the same time. Our compost partner and waste hauler, Waste Management, was also there with sample compost made from our University’s organic material.

The main festivities occurred on Saturday, starting with a tree tour of our Arboretum. The tour ended with the annual Earth Day tree planting ceremony and a River Cleanup. Then the festival took place from 12-4. Be sure to check out the pictures at UR Sustainable. There was a local market, tie-dye, musical entertainment, and some other tabling events.

Then on Sunday (a.k.a. the real Earth Day) the film One Day on Earth was screened.

A very special thank you to our featured guest speakers, Guillermo Vargas Leiton and Dr. Karen Masters who educated us on food production in Costa Rica.

We’re also proud to announce that one of our Earth Day photo’s from last year’s event  was selected by US News & World Report. Check it out, we are Photo 8: http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/slideshows/colleges-promote-earth-day-on-campuses.

Now, this Friday, April 27th we are celebrating another special day. You have probably heard that we were one of five colleges who won a contest held by the National Arbor Day Foundation. As a result we received $1,000 and 100 t-shirts! Our Arbor Day event will be held in partnership with the City of Rochester and Monroe County to plant a new tree and commemorate Genesee Valley Park’s famous tree of life . See this poster for details and bring your friends. It will truly be something special!

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