Earthdays events promote green thinking

By Autumn Riddle

Students will go car-free and place a mock wind turbine on UK’s coal pile at the heating plant on South Upper Street today in celebration of the international Fossil Fools Day, one of the first events of Earthdays in the Bluegrass.

Students can learn more about living green lifestyles through a variety of workshops and presentations during the month-long series of events promoting sustainability. Community garden workshops, group bicycle rides, a concert and an Earth Day fair are just some of the activities scheduled to take place.

“This is a chance to raise awareness on campus about a variety of environmental issues that face our city, state, nation and world,” said Taylor Shelton, co-coordinator of UK Greenthumb, one of the organizer’s of the event. “By being creative about the way we spread the message, we reach a much wider audience that we otherwise might not.”

Residence Life Recycling, Greenthumb and the Environmental Studies Department organized the fifth annual Earthdays in the Bluegrass to help promote responsible global citizenship and show the power of volunteering in local areas, said Brittany Zwicker, Greenthumb co-coordinator.

Students will promote bike awareness Friday with a ride around the city at 5 p.m. Riding a bike is the easiest way to travel on campus and is better for the environment, Shelton said.

“This is an opportunity for everyone to get out and ride together in a safe, legal and fun way,” he said.

Other events this month include a display from The Beehive Collective, an art and advocacy group from Maine, on April 14. The group will display some of its work and do research for an upcoming project about mountaintop removal in Eastern Kentucky.

The Green Residence Hall Competition will offer prizes to students with the greenest dorm rooms. To enter, students must write an essay and provide pictures showing their sustainable rooms.

On April 16, Earthdays in the Bluegrass will present its annual concert featuring old-time Kentucky mountain music. UK’s official old-time string band, The Red State Ramblers, and Clack Mountain String Band from Morehead, Ky., will perform.

“It will be a great time to come out and listen to great music at one of the best outdoor venues Lexington has to offer in the Memorial Hall outdoor amphitheater,” Shelton said.

Shane Tedder, sustainability coordinator for the Office of Residence Life, said he hopes students gain a sense of how their daily decisions affect people, economies and ecosystems around the world.

“More importantly, we hope they are inspired to make simple changes to their daily habits in order to have positive impacts on the economic, social and ecological systems that support us all,” Tedder said.

Events are free and take place every day during April.  Students who volunteer at events will receive free Earthdays in the Bluegrass T-shirts.

Those interested in entering the residence hall competition can e-mail

[email protected] for details. Entries are due by April 15, and the winners will be announced on Earth Day‚ April 22.

A full calendar of events is available at the Earthdays in the Bluegrass Web site