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University to celebrate Earth Month through sustainability projects

Sarah+Barth%2C+a+senior+from+Jasper%2C+Indiana%2C+studying+interior+design%2C+and+Morgan+Meinhart%2C+a+senior+from+Newton+studying+interior+design%2C+plant+a+Cypress+tree+Saturday%2C+April+1%2C+2017%2C+along+the+edge+of+Campus+Lake.+Bruce+DeRuntz%2C+director+of+the+SIU+Leadership+Development+Program%2C+said+80+volunteers+planted+40+trees+while+they+volunteered+during+The+Big+Event+on+Saturday.+Hundreds+of+SIU+students+took+part+in+the+day+of+service+at+various+locations+in+Carbondale+and+the+surrounding+area.+%28Jacob+Wiegand+%7C+%40jawiegandphoto%29%0A
Sarah Barth, a senior from Jasper, Indiana, studying interior design, and Morgan Meinhart, a senior from Newton studying interior design, plant a Cypress tree Saturday, April 1, 2017, along the edge of Campus Lake. Bruce DeRuntz, director of the SIU Leadership Development Program, said 80 volunteers planted 40 trees while they volunteered during The Big Event on Saturday. Hundreds of SIU students took part in the day of service at various locations in Carbondale and the surrounding area. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

Sarah Barth, a senior from Jasper, Indiana, studying interior design, and Morgan Meinhart, a senior from Newton studying interior design, plant a Cypress tree Saturday, April 1, 2017, along the edge of Campus Lake. Bruce DeRuntz, director of the SIU Leadership Development Program, said 80 volunteers planted 40 trees while they volunteered during The Big Event on Saturday. Hundreds of SIU students took part in the day of service at various locations in Carbondale and the surrounding area. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

Sarah Barth, a senior from Jasper, Indiana, studying interior design, and Morgan Meinhart, a senior from Newton studying interior design, plant a Cypress tree Saturday, April 1, 2017, along the edge of Campus Lake. Bruce DeRuntz, director of the SIU Leadership Development Program, said 80 volunteers planted 40 trees while they volunteered during The Big Event on Saturday. Hundreds of SIU students took part in the day of service at various locations in Carbondale and the surrounding area. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

By Tyra Wooten

The university is celebrating Earth Month throughout April in an effort to promote conservation on campus.

Campus and community volunteers will clear and improve trails at Touch of Nature Environmental Center from 1 to 4 p.m. each Saturday in April during Trail Stewardship days. On April 21, students and faculty will celebrate Arbor Day by planting trees at selected locations around campus.

On April 22, SIU, along with other organizations and the city of Carbondale, is organizing a spring cleanup and recycling day at 9 a.m. at Turley Park and an Earth Day Parade at the Life Community Center at 10:30 a.m.  

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Katherine McGrath, coordinator of volunteers, said SIU has been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as an official “Tree Campus USA” since 2015.

To fulfill the requirements for the designation, the school must have a committee which oversees and maintains a campus-wide tree care plan, and host at least one service event per semester.

Past events have included several tree plantings, as well as a “tree day” event where local grade school children visited campus to learn about tree identification, sustainability, and even see lumberjack sports.

“It’s not every day you get to pick up a shovel and plant a tree that will stay here for 50 years, but we give people that opportunity,” McGrath said.

Geory Kurtzhals, SIU’s sustainability coordinator, said the month will showcase different ways of working toward sustainability.

“We provide opportunities for people to both learn and act in regards to assisting sustainability,” Kurtzhals said.

Staff writer Tyra Wooten can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @twootenDE.

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