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Earth Week offers diverse range of festivities

April 11, 2012
By cnp
Posted in Student Events

University of the Ozarks will celebrate Earth Week 2012 with a series of wide-ranging events that offer a variety of fun activities all designed to raise awareness and environmental issues and promote stewardship of the earth.

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The Earth Week celebrations get underway on the evening of Friday, April 13, when Ozarks Outdoors will host a "jam session" downtown at historic legion island as the official kick off for the local Spring Greening Festival. The show will be headlined by Guta, a roots music band from Fayetteville, Ark., and will feature a number of other area bands. That same evening, visitors can take part in one of several "paranormal experience tours" of American Legion Post #22, known locally as "the Castle." The tours will be led by the Dr. Brian McFarland, Ozarks’ associate professor of chemistry, who teaches a course in science and the paranormal.

The Spring Greening Festival will continue on Saturday with a wide range of family- and environmentally-friendly events, including displays by local artisans, booths by several student organizations, informational sessions by Ozarks Outdoors, and of course some great food and music. The festival activities will also take place at legion island, and it is free and open to the public.

The on-campus Earth Week activities begin on Sunday, April 15, when Ozarks Outbackers will co-host a clean-up of Clarksville’s local hiking trail, Spadra Trail. Those who would like to participate in the clean-up should plan to meet at the fountain on the campus mall at 1:00 p.m.

Monday, April 16 is "Tree Planting Day," when Ozarks biology professor Dr. Doug Jeffries will conduct a symbolic tree planting at noon on the campus mall. That night at 8:30 p.m., the Business on the Big Screen series will feature "Addicted to Cheap Shopping? Why the Real Cost of Goods Keeps Going Down" in Baldor Auditorium. In the film, host Libby Potter travels around the world looking at the economics behind the inexpensive goods that fill the aisles in the big-box stores and malls.

The annual Earth Day chapel service will take place at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 17. The message for the service will be provided by Chris McRae, founder of Solar Under the Sun, a mission ministry of the Synod of the Sun. Solar Under the Sun sets up solar power for non-profit groups in communities with great need to help them overcome hardship while becoming better stewards of the earth.

Later that evening, in a joint presentation by the university’s Mindfulness Series and the Walton Arts and Ideas Series, "The Natural State of America" will be shown. The film recounts a four-decade long struggle to prevent unnecessary herbicide use in the Arkansas Ozarks. Guest speakers at the event will be writer and producer Dr. Brian Campbell from UCA and two of his directors, as well as several people featured in the documentary itself. The presentation starts at 7 p.m. in the Rogers Conference Center.

On Wednesday, April 18, bring your appetite for the "Eco-Friendly picnic," co-hosted by Student Foundation Board. The picnic will be held on the campus mall from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. All eating implements used at the picnic are made from bio-degradable materials.

That evening at 6:00 p.m., the annual nature photography exhibit will be on display in the Rogers conference center. The exhibit will be followed at 7:00 p.m. by the Recycled Art fashion show, featuring clothing created from recycled or reused materials. First, second, and third place prizes will be awarded to creators of the top three fashions in the show. The show will also feature a special guest appearance by Ozarks English professor, Dr. David Strain, who will be modeling some recycled fashions for the audience.

Thursday, April 19 will give everyone a chance to learn more about socially responsible careers, when Ozarks Career Services Department will host a webinar, "Doing Well By Doing Good," at noon in the Rogers Conference Center. The webinar details the growing awareness of social responsibility in the corporate world, and will show attendees in depth how they can match their aspirations to the organization.

At 4 p.m. there will be a tie-dye workshop on the campus mall, co-hosted by Ozarks Biological Society. Participants need to bring a white T-shirt to this event, but all other materials needed will be provided.

This year, Earth Week coincides with Ozarks’ annual alumni weekend, and several Ozarks alumni will return to campus on Thursday to participate in a panel discussion, "More than a Paycheck: Professions with a Purpose." The panel discussion will be held at 5:30 pm in Baldor Auditorium, and will give attendees a chance to hear how these alumni have tied their chosen profession with a higher purpose in their lives.

That evening at 7 pm, Ozarks N.E.R.D.S. will show the movie "Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind" in Room 133 of Walker Hall. The movie is a 1984 Japanese animated post-apocalyptic fantasy adventure film which tells the story of Nausicaä, a young princess of the Valley of the Wind who gets involved in a struggle with Tolmekia, a kingdom that tries to use an ancient weapon to eradicate a jungle of mutant giant insects. The movie will be followed by a panel discussion of the film and its relevance to environmentalism.

Friday, April 20, is the deadline for entries in the annual Earth Day writing contest. The subject of the contest this year is "What are the most pressing environmental issues in Arkansas?" Responses can address the question in state-wide terms or more narrowly - the River Valley, Johnson County, Clarksville, or even U of O. The essay does not have to provide solutions to the issues it addresses. There will be four prize winners for the contest, which is again being funded by Dr. Wayne and Betty Workman. Essays must be typed and must be at least six pages long.  All essays should be sent by email as an attachment to Dr. Brian Hardman at, and should include the author’s name and title of the essay. Essays will be judged anonymously by a panel of readers and the winner will be announced later in April.

For those who would like to get back to nature, Friday will also provide a chance to do just that, when Ozarks Outdoors will be hiking a portion of the Ozarks Highland Trail. A university van will trasnport hikers to the trail, and will leave from the Walton Fine Arts Center parking lot around 9 a.m.. Lunch will be Dutch-treat at the Oark General Store.

All of the Earth Week events are co-hosted by Planet Club, and many of the activities offer convocation credit or community service hours. To learn more about any of the week’s events, contact Lauren Ray at