‘A little change can go a long way’

Earth Day festival seeks to educate people about their impact
Apr. 22, 2014 @ 07:52 PM

Students and staff of Vance-Granville Community College and members of the community gathered around the campus gazebo Tuesday to see rescued animals, eat candy insects and learn how to preserve the environment.

Vance-Granville Community College held is eighth annual Earth Day festival with 19 environmental organizations and groups set up in the courtyard.

Onlookers walked the trail of tables, taking pamphlets and listening to lectures and demonstrations.

“We always look forward to seeing animals and insects,” said Deborah Harris, a child care specialist at Vance-Granville Community College’s day care, as her students ran from table to table. “If you don’t take care of your earth, it won’t be here very long. We try to instill that in them very early.”

The American Wildlife Refuge brought Speedy, Ms. Virginia and Blinky to the festival. The three birds were injured by vehicles.

“Nine out of 10 birds we get are hit by a car,” director of animal care Steve Stone said. “Earth Day events like this help teach and show people what’s happening around them. There is a lot more to earth then going to work and back.”

Instructor Stewart Lyon’s zoology students gave out snacks that resembled insects to educate people that insects are not bad to eat and could already be a part of people’s diets.

“We are just trying to educate about sustainable protein sources,” Lyon said. “Most things that we eat consume insects.”

While vendors educated visitors, more than 40 students and staff participated in the 5K run and walk. Winners were Pat Morris, instructor of developmental English, and David Wyche, chair of the English department.

The first student to finish the run was Early College student William Douglas.

“This is just to promote being in shape and to just have some fun,” he said when asked why he decided to participate.

Science instructor Dan Settles and a few of his colleagues started the Vance-Granville Community College Earth Day festival eight years ago after noticing environmental awareness was more prevalent at other colleges.

“We all agreed that we needed to do that here,” Settles said. “That’s our main emphasis: making sure that our kids are aware of how they affect the environment because they are our future.”

His efforts in getting students involved have succeeded.

Emily Garrett, one of Settles’ biology students, decided to set up a table to promote a more eco-friendly lifestyle by using safer pesticides and developing compost piles when gardening.

“It’s very helpful to the environment to learn about different ways to conserve,” she said. “A little change can go a long way, as far as the environment is concerned.”

The Earth Day festivities spread from the community college’s main campus to two others.

Granville’s campus had environmental specialists such as the Harris Worm Farm and attendees heard presentations from engineering firm Hazen and Sawyer, which participates in Tar River Land Conservancy, and the county N.C. Cooperative Extension Office.

In Franklin County, North Carolina Forest Service joined the celebration, and attendees participated in a trash walk to clean up the environment.

 

Contact the writer at dhairston@hendersondispatch.com.