April 2003 News
MTU offers Earth Week events for whole family Apr. 21 - 26
By Angela Arpke
HOUGHTON -- What do voluntary simplicity and energy efficiency have in common? If you answered nothing, then you have not had the opportunity to view the Michigan Technological University Earth Week 2003 calendar.
From April 21 to 26, Michigan Tech will host an array of Earth Week activities for the whole family. Community members, as well as students, staff and faculty are invited to participate in all events.
A highlight of the week is a visit on Thursday by environmental author Stephanie Mills, author of
In Praise of Nature, Whatever Happened to Ecology? and In Service of the Wild: Restoring and Reinhabiting Damaged Land.
"Since the publication of her first book, Mills has put tremendous energy and enthusiasm into stepping up
to the podium, speaking at hundreds of events, including the Land Institute's Prairie Festival and the Sitlan Writer's Symposium," said Shalini Suryanarayana, chair of MTU's Environmental Sustainability Committee (ESC). "She is warm, friendly, knowledgeable and full of wonderful information."
Monday: Earth Week Fair
This year, Earth Week kicks off on Monday, April 21, with the Earth Week Fair from 5 to 8 p.m. in Ballroom A of the Memorial Union Building. The fair will consist of several presentations, kids' activities, information booths and a free buffet dinner.
An interactive kids' activity from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. will teach kids about the Lake Superior Watershed (the lake itself and all the tributaries that flow into it), and is geared for grade school and junior high students. Also, throughout the evening, kids can participate in the Kids' Crafts activity, by painting canvas grocery bags.
From 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday evening, Yana Weglarz, Finlandia student, will present a slide show about the use of natural building materials in homes, the environmental impact of conventional building materials and techniques to use recycled materials for building.
Scott Bouma from Northwoods Wilderness Recovery will present "The Trap Hills Wilderness Campaign" from 7
p.m. to 8 p.m. Cindi-Buenzl-Gertz, a certified Kripalu Yoga Instructor, who teaches at The Yoga Space in Hancock, will introduce participants to yoga at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the Alumni Lounge. This event is only the beginning of the week's festivities.
Tuesday: Energy-efficient buildings
Tuesday activities focus on the theme of energy-efficient buildings. At noon and again at 1 p.m., Dave Bach of Bach Construction and Merle Kindred, President of Copper Country Habitat for Humanity and Michigan Tech Ph.D. student, will present the video "Dollars and Sense: Building Energy Efficient Housing," a video geared towards individuals who are planning on building an energy efficient home. A question and answer session will follow.
The theme of the video fits both Bach and Kindred to a tee. For more than 20 years, Bach has been building energy efficient passive solar housing, including Kindred's, in the
In the evening, the energy theme continues with guest speaker Christina A.
Snyder, architect and instructor, from the Ann Arbor area.* Snyder will speak about the State of Michigan's Zero (fossil fuel) Energy Home Competition from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in room 642 of the DOW Environmental Sciences and Engineering Building. Her presentation will be filled with information about passive solar designs, photovoltaic systems, active solar heating systems and bioenergy systems.
Wednesday: Water Conservation
Wednesday's theme is water conservation. At noon in Ballroom A of the Memorial Union Building, Dr. Dave Watkins, MTU professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering, will present, "The Global Water Crisis and What You Can Do About It." At 7 p.m. SEEn, the Society for Environmental Engineering, will show
Chinatown, a film with a water conservation theme, in the Minerals & Materials Building, room U115 (free popcorn and pop provided). Following the film, Ph.D. Candidate Fred Young will lead a discussion about the implications of water conservation in our region.
Thursday: Voluntary Simplicity
Dr. Dana Richter, MTU researcher, will introduce Thursday's theme of voluntary simplicity in a
presentation on organic farming and composting, as well as how to save seeds. Richter's discussion will be
from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the Blue Room of the ROTC Building. (The Blue Room is located on the east of the first floor).
On Thursday evening Stephanie Mills, Earth Week's featured speaker, will discuss "How Are We to Live?
-- the pleasures and purposes of living simply" from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in room G002 of the U.J. Noblet Forestry Building, adjacent to the atrium.
The public will have an opportunity to participate in a question and answer session following her presentation. A free catered dinner from the Keweenaw Co-op will complete Thursday evening's activities.
|Stephanie Mills cooks a meal in her home in Maple
City, Mich. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech University. Printed with
Mills has been selected as the featured speaker for Earth Week because she truly lives out her writing. For more than 20 years she has written and spoken about ecology and social change. Mills lives in a modest home in Maple City, MI, on a thirty-five acre lot covered with Scotch pines, sugar maples, cherry, popular and beech trees. She shares her space with a cat, now and then a few odd tree frogs, a number of white-tailed deer, some barred owls, red squirrels, grasshoppers and lady beetles, chickadees, garter snakes, lichen, weeds and
Friday: Alternative Transportation
In harmony with Friday's theme, alternative transportation, the theme of voluntary simplicity will also continue. If you enjoyed Mills' presentation on Thursday night, come meet her in person at her book signing between 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. at North Wind Books in Hancock. After the book signing, join Mills once more at 1 p.m. in Ballroom A of the Memorial Union Building for a presentation titled "Sauntering: Feet Feats." Snacks will be provided.
If modes of alternative transportation interest you, attend MS Environmental Engineering Candidate Pete Koepfgen's presentation, "How to Convert to Bio-Fuels & Bio-Lubricants" in Ballroom A of the Memorial Union Building from noon to 12:20 and from 12:30 to 12:50. During his presentation, Koepfgen will discuss how Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Park converted its maintenance vehicles to use plant oils rather than petroleum products. When asked to comment on the use of bio-fuels, Koepfgen stated, "Plant based oils lubricate better than petroleum oils and are bio-degradable."
Saturday: Tour of energy-efficient homes
On Saturday, April 26, to conclude the Earth Week celebration, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., five homeowners of energy-efficient homes in Houghton,
Hancock and South Range invite community members to tour their homes. Maps will be available on the ESC website and at Earth Week functions starting on Monday.
For a complete calendar of Earth Week Events, visit the ESC website.
If you have questions about parking or building locations, contact Michigan Tech Department of Public Safety at 487-2216. For questions or additional information about Earth Week, or the Michigan Tech Environmental Sustainability Committee send an e-mail to
firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to see you soon!
* Upland Hills Ecological Awareness Center has received a grant (from the State of Michigan's Energy Office) funding the speakers' costs for up to fourteen of these presentations to be offered free to the public at various venues across the state of Michigan. If you or an organization you know has a suitable venue and would like to host one of these presentations, call Christina Snyder at 734-428-9249 and ask for a free host venue's information packet to be sent to you at your e-mail or
United States postal mailing address.
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