SJC Long Island’s Sustainability Committee hosted a series of events for Earth Week leading up to the 47th anniversary of Earth Day on Saturday, April 22.
Armed with hedge clippers, rakes and gardening gloves, the volunteers removed debris and overgrown vegetation from the nature trail. Konstantine Rountos, Ph.D., of SJC’s biology department led the group and taught students about skunk cabbage, sunlight and plant growth.
With aeration devices expected to be added to the Lake in the near future, debris needed to be cleared from the lake. Students took to the lake in canoes and hip waders.
The informative and interactive Earth Week Festival took place outdoors and included representation from several local environmental groups. SJC students, staff and faculty learned how they could get involved with such organizations as the Long Island Native Plant Initiative, Fire Island National Seashore, 511NY Rideshare, Car Free Day Long Island and Citizens’ Climate Lobby.
Earth Week also included a political science club-sponsored visit from Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and a discussion with distinguished Professor Tim Bishop and Associate Professor Kirk Lawrence.
Bellone recently introduced a septic system pilot program to reduce nitrogen in Suffolk County’s water supply. During his talk, he listed the assets that the county is developing to make it more attractive for young people to stay, including his I-Zone project for Nicolls Road that will connect bus stations, bike lanes and roads to innovation hubs like Stony Brook University and Hospital to Brookhaven National Lab and St. Joseph’s College.
“Moving around the suburbs without getting in a car has never been more possible than right now,” said Bellone.
During their event, Bishop and Lawrence discussed the state of the environment and environmental policy under President Trump’s administration. They also discussed the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clear Air Act and the significant role that scientific research plays in our global society.
The week wound down with SJC Long Island’s Students Taking Active Roles in Society (S.T.A.R.S.) and Habitat for Humanity clubs visiting a community garden in East Patchogue to celebrate Earth Day and prepare the garden for planting.
Earth Week was a full SJC community experience that the Sustainability Committee hopes to reinforce throughout the year.