Its soft green and red leaves fluttered slightly as the man lifted the small sapling from its container.?This little tree, he told the onlookers, would be named the Elissa Heil Nutall Oak, in honor of Dr. Elissa Heil, Professor of English and Spanish, and Associate Academic Dean at Ozarks.
It didn’t take long to plant the little tree. After all, it was so small that its roots didn’t spread very far or have to go very deep.
But as Dr. Doug Jeffries reminded everyone, the little tree is more than just a reminder of the contributions Heil has made to the University. It is a reminder of the potential within us all. This little tree is not much bigger around than a pencil, but with our care and stewardship it may eventually grow to a height of 80 feet. And as it grows, it should be a reminder that all of our actions, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant they are, can make a long-lasting and significant impact on the earth.
Dr. Doug Jeffries leads the opening activity for Earth Week 2014, a symbolic tree-planting event. Photo provided by Kelsey Flinn, from Ozarks Outdoors.
The tree-planting event was the first of a series of activities organized by the University’s Planet Club in celebration of Earth Week 2014.
"Earth Week is a time to reflect on the environment and all it has given us," said Nena Evans, Planet Club President. "It is a time to be grateful for the things we have and to step back and realize the impact that we as humans are having on the world around us, both positively and negatively."
To realize that goal, Evans said that Planet Club has partnered with other campus clubs and organizations to organize a series of events which emphasizes awareness of the environment and encourage people to make a positive impact in it. Events scheduled for the week include:
- Tree Planting and Tree Give-Away on the Mall @ 12 noon - Sponsored by Planet Club
- Nature Preserve Workday @ 4:00 pm - Sponsored by Ozarks Outbackers and Touching Hearts
- Speaker from National Resource Conservation Service in Smith-Broyles Room 127 @ 5:00 pm - Sponsored by Ozarks Biological Society and Tri-Beta
- Earth Day Chapel @ 11:00 am. Dr. Doug Jeffries will present his "Last Environmental Lecture." - Sponsored by Planet Club
- Picnic on the Mall @ 11:30 am - ARAMARK
- HAWK Presentation by Lynne Slater @ 5:00 pm at Ozarks Outdoors BaseCamp - Sponsored by Planet Club
- Speaker Blaire Griffon from Cooperative Extension Service in Smith-Broyles Room 127 @ 6:00 pm - sponsored by Ozarks Biological Society and Tri-Beta
- Entries from the Recycled Art and Nature Photo Contests will be on display in the Chapel basement all day
- "Be Litter Free Pledge" in the cafeteria from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm - Sponsored by Touching Hearts
- Speaker from the GreenSource recycling clinic here in Clarksville to talk about how to recycle, what to recycle, where to recycle, what happens to the materials that are recycled, and how recycling benefits the community in Baldor Auditorium @ 12 noon - Sponsored by Planet Club
- Movie "Blackfish" in Smith-Broyles Room 129 @ 7:30 pm - Sponsored by the Sociology Club
- Hiking, canoeing, & fishing trip to Mt. Magazine @ 4:00 pm - sponsored by Ozarks Outbackers and Ozarks Anglers
- Entries due for the annual Earth Day Essay Contest through Friday afternoon. This year, the contest asks students to consider this question: What are the most pressing environmental issues in Arkansas? Entries must be turned in to Dr. Brian Hardman by 4:30 PM on Sunday, April 27. The winning essay will be announced on May 2.
Evans said the different groups on campus have worked together to organize a week of activities designed to celebrate nature and all the Earth has provided us with.
"It is important for everyone to realize the value of the outside world and the numerous ways in which we affect it," she added. "To me, that is a very important thing to understand."