A sunny warm day was the perfect setting for the Fort Hays State University Earth Day celebration Friday on the Quad.
The emphasis for the week-long celebration was “on bees, butterflies and tree pollinators because bees and butterflies are having a lot of trouble conservation-wise,” FHSU sustainability coordinator and event organizer Andree Brisson said last week.
“We are trying to highlight endangered species,” FHSU junior Randi Nielsen said as she hung a ceramic butterfly in a tree.
Nielson is a member of the ceramics hand-building class.
Students in the class created ceramic pieces of some of those animals, she said.
The newly formed FHSU Bee Club also had a table on the quad.
“Bees pollinate a third of the crops everyone eats,” said Elissa Jensen, club president. “If we didn’t have them, we would die within four years, the human race, because they do so much.”
Water conservation also was a popular topic.
Ellis County Master Gardeners Virginia Jacobs and Linda Stahlman demonstrated the proper way to water a lawn.
“If you water less frequently and deeply, it causes the roots to go down and you’ll have a healthier plant,” Jacobs said.
“Water deeply, maybe once a week unless it’s really, really hot. Then the roots have to go down to find moisture,” Stahlman said.
Mykaela Smart, an FHSU student and K-State Research watershed specialist, used a squirt bottle and visual display of a town to show how substance runoff can affect water quality.
“This just basically shows how different aspects of our everyday life affects our water,” Smart told the group gathered around her table.
Tony Schmidt said he was amazed at the demonstration.
Schmidt, a member of the Kansas Speaker Bureau, is trying to get a Citizens Climate Lobby group started in Hays. A FHSU Leadership 310 class has partnered with Schmidt and the CCL.
At their Earth Day booth, the students were urging their peers to write letters to Congress about climate change.
“I come from the beautiful state Colorado, and Rocky Mountain National Park is right in my backyard,” said Molly Madrid, a junior from Loveland, Colo. “I’ve grown up seeing it and visiting, and I just want that to be there for my kids, my grandkids. And with climate change, it might not be. It affects everything and everyone.”
FHSU students could sign up for a green-room certification from the residential hall association.
To get the certification, they should use the recycling bin for what it’s made for, finish what they take in the dining room, turn lights off when they leave and not take a 40-minute shower, said Maryke Taute, assistant director of residential life.
“Things that most of our students are already doing, but it’s nice to get that label that says I’m making good decisions,” she said.
“I never really looked at my room and thought about how I could do things to conserve energy. And I think having this out here (is great) so students can see they really are doing things to save the environment,” said Alexa Ritter, a Solomon freshman and president of the Residence Hall Association.