Earth Week Block Party Features ‘Green’ Activities & Info

by Diane VanDyke

Montgomery County Community College invites the community to its Earth Week Block Party on Wednesday, April 20, from 12:30-1:30 p.m.

This free event, held at both campuses, will highlight the College’s sustainable practices and provide ideas and information to live a greener lifestyle.

At Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, the activities will be held in the quad and patio area of the Advanced Technology Center.

The Ceramics Club, led by Assistant Professor Michael Connelly, will be demonstrating and selling pottery made by the students to raise funds to construct a gas soda kiln that will use recycled waste vegetable oil from the College’s food service. Currently, the College uses a natural gas-fired kiln, but the proposed green kiln will greatly reduce energy usage and the College’s overall carbon footprint.

“By using this proposed ‘green kiln,’ students will learn about the material process through working in ceramics and will gain a better understanding about what goes into their bodies, as well as the environment, when learning about the use of recycled vegetable oil to fire their creations,” Connelly said.

Recycled art sculptures will be on display the entire week of April 18-22 as part of an art competition. Created by Chloris Lowe’s sculpturing class, the artwork is made of recyclables students found on and around campus. Students, faculty, staff and visitors are encouraged to vote for their favorite sculptures, and the winning artists will receive gift cards to art supply stores.

Assistant Professor of Biology Jerry Coleman will provide tours of the campus grounds while discussing the restoration processes in progress,  as well as the environmental impacts of lawn maintenance and storm water management and the advantages of re-vegetating the land.

Microeconomics students will share their Wiki websites and answer questions on various environmental topics, including the economic analysis of mining marcellus shale, marketable permits for pollution reduction, costs and benefits of recycling, greenhouse economics and the protection of endangered species.

At West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown, the activities will be held in the lobby and community room of South Hall.

Geology Professor Robert Kuhlman will present data showing various climatological and geological parameters that document changes in the climate. This will be a preview of a new course, GLG 125 The Science of Climate Change, which will be offered in the fall 2011 at West Campus. Also, Geography Instructor Samuel Wallace will be showcasing the new Sustainable Climate Communities course, GEO 235.

Both campuses will host farmers markets featuring local, organically-grown fruits and vegetables. The farmers markets will be available every Friday until the end of the growing season.

The campus shuttle, which provides transportation between campuses for students, will be featured at both locations, and information will be available about SEPTA, bike trails and proposed ride-sharing options.

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