Last Saturday afternoon, an assortment of campus and community organizations gathered in the Union to celebrate and encourage environmental awareness. Dubbed Greenstock, this event included informational booths, performances by Davidson students and last but not least, snakes and crocodiles from Davidson’s herpetology lab.
Co-project manager Gabe Perlow ’14 helped to launch the event “to bring together Davidson’s students and members of the community to rally around the environmental spirit that is in this area and to educate ourselves about how different facets of the community are working to behave in environmentally conscious ways.”
Several organizations around the community brought representatives to speak with students about how they can become more environmentally aware. Tommy and Anna Barbee, owners of Barbee Farms in Cabarrus County, N.C., who recently won the 2010 Conservation Farm Family award for their environmentally conscious farming techniques, educated students about no-till farming, drip irrigation and terracing.
Leslie Willis, the Town of Davidson’s Healthy Living and Wellness Supervisor, promoted a 30-day action initiative, where students would receive a daily email suggesting a way to serve the community beginning Apr. 6. The Healthy Home Market (“Home Economist”) passed out granola and other healthy goodies from their store at the event.
National organizations also sent spokespersons, including the Peace Corps, Greenpeace and the Rain Forest Action Network. Alecia Mason, an intern at Greenpeace, highlighted the Quit Coal Campaign, teaching students about mountaintop removal coal mining in North Carolina. She focused on the local Duke Energy’s use of this practice, known to cause ecosystem damage and threaten human health. As she explained, “they take beautiful, green, lush mountains, like the ones you see on post cards, blow them up with explosives and destroy them, the ecosystems and the communities around them.” Students had the chance to sign a petition attempting to stop Duke Energy from engaging in mountaintop removal.
Todd Zimmer, the representative from the Rain Forest Action Network, encouraged attendees to take action against Bank of America, the nation’s largest underwriter of coal loans, according to the speaker.
Allison Wolf shared her experience with the Peace Corps in Sri Lanka, and encouraged any interested students to attend an informational meeting Thursday evening about the agency. The Peace Corps’ objectives include addressing environmental issues.
Several Davidson organizations also made appearances at the fair. The EAC’s tap water vs. bottled water booth provided students with information on chemicals in bottled water. The Davidson Herpetology Lab brought an alligator and several snakes for petting. Chance Ruder ’14 showed off Gladys, an American alligator. While only about a foot long at present, Ruder astonished the audience by explaining that she will be eight to nine feet long when fully grown. Members of the herpetology lab educated fellow classmates about their work protecting terrapins and box turtles. Additionally, the Davidson Food Club rolled in their cart filled with an abundance of fresh and locally grown produce.
While students perused the many informative booths, several bands and performers took the stage, including the Bellowing Pelicans, Free Word, Nick Evans and Taylor Hogan. A new student band, Ships at a Distance, including Spencer Ayscue ’15, Ben Hardie ’15 and Hannah Nelson ’15, also debuted.
After taking a stroll around the booths, students could sit down and relax while painting a small plant pot. Members of the EAC provided soil and basil seeds for the pots. Hampton Stall ’15, an active member of the EAC, as well as a regular visitor to Barbee farms, “really liked the chill atmosphere [of the event].” However, at the same time, people addressed significant issues, like Duke Energy’s Mountaintop removal practices.
While many diverse organizations congregated for the afternoon, they all shared a common objective: to increase environmental awareness. Co-project manager Amy Pugh ’13 explained that the underlying goal of the festival was to “facilitate dialogue between local environmental organizations, Davidson students and community members.”
Perlow added that he believes “people need to be more receptive and develop an excitement for environmentally conscious living.”