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Earth Day Festival Set for Friday, April 21, at Stetson

If there’s one thing Sarah Coffey would like to see at Stetson’s Earth Day Festival, it’s sunshine.

Last year, the threat of rain moved the festival inside the Rinker Field House. But Coffey, a Stetson junior, said she is hoping for a bigger turnout with sunshine forecast for Friday, April 21, enticing people outside to enjoy the nice spring weather and campus surroundings.

The festival will take place on the lawn in front of the Sage Science Center from 1 to 4 p.m. on Friday. The event is free and open to the public. Cultural credit is available for students.

Organizations that promote environmental stewardship and sustainability — such as Hatter Harvest, Stetson Beekeeping and the Gillespie Museum — will have displays and information. Students will showcase environmental projects, and students from Stetson’s School of Music will provide an eclectic mix of live music. Ten vendors from the community will be selling food.

Sarah Coffey

“There’s a lot going on all at once,” said Coffey, a Stetson Environmental Sustainability Fellow. “There’s so many learning opportunities, especially from all the activities we’re going to have.”

This will be Stetson’s 47th celebration of Earth Day. The day was started on April 22, 1970, by then-U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin after he saw the effects of a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, in 1969, according to Earth Day Network. Nelson was inspired by the student anti-war movement and wanted to make environmental protection a national priority at a time when the public was becoming aware of the dangers of air and water pollution.

“By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. ‘It was a gamble,’ Gaylord recalled, ‘but it worked,’ ” according to Earth Day Network.

The Earth Day Festival is one of several events planned at Stetson for Earth Week 2017, including:

  • Science Café: Pollinator Project at the Volusia Sandhill Ecosystem on Thursday, April 20, 7 – 8:30 p.m. at the Gillespie Museum. Cultural credit is available for students.
  • Arbor Day Celebration: A tour of the Native Plant Landscape on the Gillespie Museum Grounds on Friday, April 28, from 2-3:30 p.m. Cultural credit is available for students.