Niagara University is ranked among the country's most environmentally responsible colleges, according to The Princeton Review.
Earth Day is just another chance to prove why.
"We are very proud to be considered one of the greenest colleges in the nation," stated David Ederer, chair of Niagara's Sustainability Task Force. "While we strive to increase our sustainability on a continuous basis, Earth Day gives us another opportunity to bring attention to environmentally friendly living and working."
NU has scheduled a variety of "green" activities and demonstrations in observance of Earth Day on Wednesday, April 18. Sponsored by the Sustainability Task Force, all of the following happenings will occur in or around the university's Gallagher Center between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Bee Expert: Beekeeper Geri Hens of Hens Honey Bee Farm (North Tonawanda) will provide an explanation of how she runs her honey operation to meet USDA organic standards.
Birds of Prey Exhibit: Messinger Woods, a wildlife rehabilitation center, will display various birds of prey.
Carbon Footprint Calculation: Attendees will have the opportunity to calculate their personal carbon footprints.
Cornell Cooperative Extension: The research-based organization will be on hand to provide news on local agricultural efforts and to promote sustainable activities and environmentally friendly farming activities.
Dumpster Dive: Student participation is welcome as NUHOPE members sort through Gallagher Center garbage and explain which materials are recyclable, how to recycle them, and how much landfill waste could have been avoided with proper disposal.
E-Scrap Recycling Fundraiser for Camp Good Days: Niagara, in partnership with Sunnking, is sponsoring a program that will allow employees, students and community members to drop off their unused electronics for recycling. Sunnking will then donate a percentage of profits, based on the volume collected, to Camp Good Days, an organization charged with improving the quality of life for children, adults and families who have been touched by cancer.
H2Gro Table: H2Gro, a 12.5-acre greenhouse operated by Modern Corporation, grows hydroponic tomatoes for sale in local supermarkets. H2Gro's greenhouses utilize gas created by Modern's landfills to generate heat and use bees to pollinate the tomato plans. Samples will be provided.
Incandescent Light Collection: Sponsored by Anderson Electric, members of the community can trade in incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs.
Modern Corporation Display: Niagara University's disposal contractor recycles a considerable amount of materials and is very active in promoting sustainable activities within local communities. Businesses affiliated with Modern that use the disposal company's recycled items include A-Turf and Modern Corporation Signs & Graphics as well as numerous organizations that manufacture posters, rubber landscaping mulch, playground and equestrian surface materials and methane gas for heating.
National Wildlife Conservancy: A group from the National Wildlife Conservancy will answer attendees' questions.
New York State Parks Department Exhibit: Representatives from the State Parks Interpretive Programs Office will be on hand to display various eco-friendly exhibitions and provide information on our local parks.
Outdoor Gardening: Weather permitting, a number of staff, faculty and students will show off their gardening skills.
Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve Exhibit: Meet officials from the Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve, a unique 292-acre complex of forests, ponds, and wetlands surrounded by suburban development in Depew.
Tree Plantings: Re-Tree WNY, a nonprofit organization established as a result of Buffalo's surprise October snowstorm in 2006, will be on campus to plant new trees.
Vegan Bake Sale: Muffins, brownies and cookies devoid of animal or dairy products will be for sale.
Venus Fly Trap Sale: Overcome your fear that resulted from too many viewings of "Little Shop of Horrors" and pick up your very own Venus fly trap.
Along with the recognition from The Princeton Review, Niagara University has recently won a contest sponsored by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo that will furnish it with a $3,000 grant to construct a community vegetable garden and initiated a series of online videos focused on highlighting university sustainability efforts. Last year, solar panels were installed on the roof of Dwyer Arena to offset the unique electrical requirements of the ice hockey arena, especially during the summer months.
Niagara University's Sustainability Task Force is headed by a steering committee, which oversees five subsidiary committees: curriculum; reduce, reuse and recycle; energy; our living environment; and sustainable lifestyles. Each committee is made up of a cross-section of university students, faculty and staff members.
For more information on Earth Day at Niagara University and the university's ongoing sustainability initiatives, visit http://www.niagara.edu/green.