Thanks to all who helped on Earth Day Expo

West Virginia University at Parkersburg hosted its 2016 Earth Day Expo on April 21, and as one of the faculty organizers, I would like to issue a public thank-you to all the individuals and organizations that participated in the event.

Community organizations Appalachian Renewable Energy Consumer Cooperative (ARECC), Energy Efficient West Virginia, the Green Sanctuary Committee of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Marietta, Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action, and Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, along with native plant expert Andrew Clovis of Davis Nurseries, all staffed informational tables at the Expo. Journalist Callie Lyons shared the work she has done on the dangers of C8. The Department of Environmental Protection sent its children’s outreach specialist, Nedia Cyran, with displays on wildflower plantings and other aspects of that agency’s work. The Division of Forestry sent Smokey the Bear and provided sawtooth oak seedlings for attendees to take home. The West Virginia National Guard shared its work on disaster relief.

WVU Parkersburg faculty, staff, and students were involved as well. The STEM division provided interactive tabletop presentations on ocean plastics, West Virginia trees, sustainable agriculture, and problems with bottled water. The Health and Wellness club staffed a popular table on environmental aspects of health. Theater students engaged in pop-up “guerrilla theater” on climate change throughout the day, campus musicians and poets performed, and the College Chorale ended the day with a performance of Stephen Chatman’s “Woodpecker.” The Environmental Action Group provided information on a variety of topics and gave away wildflower seeds. Student volunteers from the Student Government Association, the Literacy Association, and the education honorary Kappa Delta Pi provided a variety of activities for children, of whom nearly 100 attended, including two first-grade classes from Jackson County.

This no-doubt-incomplete list may give a sense of the breadth and depth of interest in environmental issues in our area. Participants in the Earth Day Expo literally ranged in age from eighteen months to eighty-plus years and brought a variety of backgrounds and expertise into the College Activities Center at WVU Parkersburg. The Expo celebrates the beauty of West Virginia and the world while attempting to increase awareness of threats to air, water, land, wildlife, and, ultimately, future generations of humans. Again, a big thank-you to all who participated in any way.

Rebecca Phillips