UNA celebrates Earth Day

A group of kayakers from the Outdoor Adventure Center paddle down Cypress Creek. The OAC and the Department of Communications will host the UNA Earth Day event April 22. “(This event is) a coordinated effort to help save the planet,” said Coordinator of the OAC Patrick Shremshock. “If we can help change a behavior for the positive, then one person at a time we can make a difference.”

April 22 marks the 46th international Earth Day and the second Earth Day at UNA.

The Outdoor Adventure Center and the Department of Communications are working together to provide an opportunity for students and community members to learn more about environmental issues.

The Department of Communications wants to show why Earth Day is important to everybody, said Interim Department Chair of Communications Jason Flynn.

“(Some might ask), ‘Why does (the) Communications Department care?’” he said. “We understand why the (science departments) cares about the Earth, but we want to show that we do, too. It’s important to show that we’re coming together for this cause.”

It is a one-day event with the main attraction happening at night, said Administrative Assistant Jeanne Baughman. The fair, which is free and open to the public, starts at 6 p.m. Rachel Wammack and David Walton will perform. The “Southern Exposure” film will start at 7 p.m.

The event started as a platform for a documentary series on environmental issues, said Coordinator of the OAC Patrick Shremshock.

“Our feature for the event is the Environmental Law Center’s program called ‘Southern Exposure,’ which is a film documentary series,” he said. “The program is for students from all over the country. They can apply for this grant award (and), if they are awarded the grant, they come to Alabama for a summer, and they write (a) script. They develop a whole movie from ground up.”

Baughman said Student Engagement will host a service project from 3-5 p.m. at Wildwood Park where students will clean up litter. Local musician David Walton will also perform children environmental songs at Kilby Laboratory School in the afternoon.

It is exciting that they are offering a volunteering opportunity, said junior Mai Currott.

“I support Earth Day, and I enjoy volunteering when I can,” she said. “I think this will be a lot of fun.”

Shremshock said he estimated that 60 people showed up for the event last year.

“We wanted to make it bigger and better than it was, and this time, try to invite more departments around the university to join (in) if they wished,” he said.

Baughman said their event has grown since last year. They now have 11 sponsors and 16 supporters.

“Most supporters don’t have money to give, but they want to be here, and they want to be involved,” she said. “Their members are invited to attend if they like, and so that will help us get the word out to people in the community.”

Currott said she discovered the event through UNA emails and Facebook.

Shremshock said people should come to meet others interested in environmental issues.

“(This event is) a coordinated effort to help save the planet,” he said. “If we can help change a behavior for the positive, then one person at a time we can make a difference.”

Flynn said this change will not happen in a day.

“This event is not going to fix the planet or change everybody’s behavior, but the importance is that we are showing, as a community, that we care, and it’s something worth paying attention to,” he said.