Since 1970, April 22 has been designated Earth Day to rally support for environmental issues — and many world leaders and organizations agree that the call to action has never been more urgent than it is now. Maybe you will celebrate Earth Day at a flagship event on the National Mall in Washington DC or another locale around the world, or perhaps you’ll be right here in Staunton.
Mary Baldwin University’s Environment-Based Learning (EBL) program — under the umbrella of the college’s Master of Arts in Teaching — will be integrally linked to Staunton’s Earth Day celebration 9 a.m. to noon April 19 on the city’s downtown Wharf. Since 2002, Tamra Willis, Mary Baldwin associate professor of education, has leveraged the EBL program to help the college secure hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to support workshops for Mary Baldwin master’s degree students and area teachers to explore how their surroundings can help them develop lesson plans for all subjects. Willis is poised to pilot a full-scale non-licensure education program in EBL in summer 2008.The program will appeal not only to classroom teachers, but to educators in other fields, such as those working in museums, nature centers, state and national parks, and more, she said.
Highlights of Mary Baldwin’s connections with local Earth Day-related activities:
- Sixth-graders at Shelburne Middle School will present testing data from the water at Gum Spring in Gypsy Hill Park that they obtained as part of a grant secured by a partnership between Mary Baldwin University and Staunton City Schools. The project was developed as part of the Department of Education Learn & Serve grant “Staunton’s Lewis Creek: Learning from the Past, Improving the Future” and will be presented at Staunton’s Earth Day celebration.
- Environment-Based Learning at Mary Baldwin will receive one of five awards from the city’s Lewis Creek advisory committee in recognition of contributions to the preservation and protection of the Lewis Creek Watershed. Award presentation is at 10:30 a.m. at the city’s Wharf Earth Day celebration.
- Master of Arts in Teaching students Jeanne Webb and Janice Irvine helped organize and plant more than 20 trees with students at Thomas Dixon Elementary School in Staunton earlier in April. The trees will beautify school grounds and reduce erosion into Lewis Creek.
- More information about Mary Baldwin’s continuing green efforts will be included in a special series by Staunton’s The News Leader April 21 and 22. Details about schools’ efforts, including Mary Baldwin, will be published on Monday.
www.earthday.net : Founded by the organizers of the first Earth Day in 1970, Earth Day Network (EDN) promotes environmental citizenship and year round progressive action worldwide. Its premier event will be in Washington, DC, and seven cities around the globe, and the organization is encouraging 1,000,000 people call Congress on April 22 to urge significant action on climate change.
www.earthday.gov : This Web site outlines the Bush administration’s steps toward a greener environment. Offers resources for taking action at home, in the classroom, at work, and in the community.
www.epa.gov/earthday : EPA’s Earth Day Web site offers tips and ways to protect the environment and your health every day. The site highlights that through the combined efforts of the U.S. government, grassroots organizations, and citizens, what started as a day of national environmental recognition has evolved into a world-wide campaign to protect the global environment.