Although mother nature put a damper on Earth Day festivities at Bethany College Monday, students' enthusiasm for environmentalism was not diminished because events were moved indoors due to rain.
Students and staff involved with the campus ecology groups and the campus Green Team undertook projects from tennis shoe planters to moss art to inspire environmental awareness among Bethany students.
Earth Day, which was first celebrated on April 22, 1970, is an annual day to bring awareness to environmental issues and conservation.
Bruce Rowe, a senior from Long Beach, Calif.; and Chelsea Stuewe, a junior from Alma, put together a display on container gardening.
Rowe, who grew up in urban settings, said he wanted to show his fellow students they could grow plants in tight settings, like dorms.
He and Stuewe used tennis shoes and a baseball hat for planters.
"My brother used to buy tennis shoes and never wear them. He used them as decorative pieces," Rowe said. "I wanted a planter, and I decided to use the two of them.
"I was trying to think outside of the box. I had some hats I never wore, so I thought I would try that out, and it worked."
Amy Riordan, director of the Bethany Community Garden, and Elizabeth Traner, a sustainability class student and sophomore from Emporia, helped students Monday plant flowers and carrots in small recycled newspaper flowerpots for this year's community garden.
The garden recently received a $5,000 grant from K-State. This spring and summer, Bethany will improve its irrigation system and purchase a new shed with its grant funds.
Although the irrigation project will limit what can be grown in the garden this season, garden volunteers typically grow vegetables and donate them to Bethany College students, staff and faculty.
Riordan said she also hopes to use produce from the garden to conduct some demonstrations on healthy cooking.
Sustainability is one of Bethany's core values, said Traner, a forensics science major, said.
"I feel it is important," she said.
She and other students took pledges to take steps to better the environment during the Earth Day events Monday. Traner pledged to recycle her newspapers and aluminum. In exchange for their pledges, students received tie-dyed T-shirts that had been donated from campus organizations who had left over shirts from other events.
"We found that if they make a pledge and they write their name down, they are more likely to stick with it," said Janie Tubbs, administrative assistant for the athletics department and long-time member of the college's Green Team.
Kristin Mihalcin, sophomore in biology and pre-medicine, along with her team members were trying to get attendees at the Earth Day event to think about repurposing glass items for their gardens.
Page 2 of 2 - Mihalcin and her team used beer bottles filled with sand and gravel as hose bumpers and a wine bottle for a watering device.
"I think we waste so much in our society," she said. "We don't realize how blessed we are. There are people in this world who live on less than a $1 per day.
"We need to have more awareness of our environment. I think humanity could reach new levels in technology and medicine if we utilized our resources better."