EarthFest 2014: Party for the Planet set for Sept. 17


The U-M squirrels will have to share the limelight with a barred owl on Sept. 17 when all things related to sustainability at the university take over the Diag for EarthFest.

This year’s event includes free food, information booths, games, giveaways and live entertainment by Ann Arbor singer-song writer Chris Good.

As part of the celebration, Planet Blue is hosting a social media contest for staff, faculty and students on Facebook and Twitter with the chance to win sustainability prizes. Event attendees also have the opportunity to enter a raffle to win an Apple iPad.

“EarthFest is a great opportunity for students to connect with sustainability groups and find ways they can live on Planet Blue,” said Barb Hagan, sustainability representative in the Office of Campus Sustainability.

“Our commitment to reducing our environmental footprint needs the support and engagement of our students, staff and faculty.”

The event will run 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and will focus on U-M sustainability efforts in four areas: climate action, waste prevention, healthy environments and community awareness.

Each focus area will include a combination of informed representatives from campus departments, student organizations and the local community available to answer questions. More than 40 sustainability-related groups and organizations will be at the event including the Campus Farm, ITS Sustainable Computing and Sustainability Without Borders.

“It’s exciting to be a part of an event that has the ability to foster so much change in student involvement and spread the importance of sustainability in a refreshing, innovative way,” said Madelyn Grant, one of the event organizers and a senior in the School of Music Theatre & Dance.

“The more students that are aware and active in environmental issues while they attend U of M, the more adults that will enter the work force with a sustainability influenced mindset.”

Event highlights include:

• MHealthy chef demonstrations using local ingredients.

• An opportunity to make a photo pledge to sustainability.

• Free, local snacks such as apples and doughnuts from Washtenaw Dairy.

• Opportunity to enter to win basketball signed by Coach John Beilein.

EarthFest is organized by students and staff led by the Office of Campus Sustainability.  The event strives to be zero-waste, and supports the university’s broader sustainability initiative known as Planet Blue.

U-M has been celebrating the planet for nearly 20 years.  At EarthFest 2011, the university strengthened its sustainability commitment with the announcement of a $14 million investment toward ambitious environmental goals.



  1. Damien Hyde
    on September 10, 2014 at 8:35 am

    The squirrels you mentioned that have to share the limelight with owl, bring to mind another environmental topic that should be given some thought on that day; U of M’s use of pesticides on it’s lawns and other greenery.
    To many times I’ve seen those squirrels having to run across those freshly poisoned lawns in search of food, that most likely, also has been sprayed. Perhaps U of M can find other methods for maintaining the campus greenery, instead of pesticides mixed with fertilizer, chemicals that eventually wind up in our streams. I’ve also seen parents bring their tiny infants to play on these lawns, even the very next day, not knowing of the hazard underneath their feet.
    This might be a good issue to rally students around on our campus for the safety of all, including our beloved squirrels.

  2. Anne Kadrovich
    on September 10, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Great comment, Damien. I agree that our critters deserve better!

  3. Rob Robinson
    on September 10, 2014 at 10:17 am

    I agree with Damien, its time the university stopped poisoning the wildlife. We need more weeds and less pesticides.

  4. Rob Doletzky
    on September 10, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Speaking on behalf of the Grounds Maintenance department at the University, I can tell you that the lawns within the entire Diag block are only fertilized with Organic fertilizers. The enviromentally friendly weed control product used on the Diag lawns is Fiesta which is derived from naturally occuring Iron that is taken up by the plants within hours. The broadleaf weeds are succesptable to Iron and will eventually die off allowing the lawns to thrive. Grounds is continually testing new products and techniques to provide an enviromentally friendly land management plan that will still deliver a beautiful campus landscape. Since 2006 Grounds has reduced it’s landscape chemical use by over 50% and will continue to work towards an even lower goal.

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