By Rachel Kytonen
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. It’s a simple message, but an important one, as we all can make a difference in taking better care of our planet.
Learn how during an Earth Friendly Fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Anoka Ramsey Community College-Cambridge Campus, on Saturday, April 21.
The Fair is being hosted by the campus’ Environmental Club (E-Club) in an effort to bring more awareness to earth friendly products and services, along with showcasing sustainable practices and innovative ideas for creating a better environment.
“I believe it is important to celebrate Earth Day because it is a topic so much forgotten,” said Rebecca Anderson, student president of the E-Club. “We just take this planet for granted now-a-days, without even a second thought on the matter. It is only right to put aside a day to appreciate Earth for what it is as a whole to us.”
The Fair is free, and all are welcome. It will feature close to 20 environmentally friendly vendors, as well as raffles for prizes, live art and music, one-act play, poetry reading, nature walk and pottery demonstration with Ruth O’hara. Rendezvous Coffee will also be on hand selling food and beverages for those looking to grab something to eat or drink while attending the Fair.
There will be plenty of children’s activities including a scavenger hunt beginning at 9 a.m. (you need to be there at 9 a.m. to participate); story time, fun outdoor games, throw a pot with Ruth and coloring reusable shopping bags.
The Fair will also feature several mininars (30 minutes of Eco-intel) on a variety of topics that include:
• Closet 2 Closet: The Business of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
• Sun Dial Solar: Selling the Solar since the 1970s.
• Darby Nelson, biologist: Healthy Lakes.
• Jim Brozowski, biologist: Mercury in Game Fish.
• Thomas McLaughlin, biologist: Birdwatching.
• Fresh Energy: Minnesota’s Alternative Energy Future.
• Phil Anderson, biologist: What Plants Tell Us? – Are We listening?
Peter Wahlstrom, faculty advisor for the E-Club, said a core group of 13 students in the E-Club have been planning the Earth Friendly Fair since November.
“All the E-Club students have been brainstorming activities and ideas for the Earth Friendly Fair,” Wahlstrom said. “They have been learning a lot from this process, and it teaches them about functioning in the real world. They have been doing all the publicity with this, including newspaper interviews and radio ads on KBEK.”
Anderson, a June 2010 graduate of North Branch High School, will graduate from the Cambridge Campus on May 11 with an Associates in Arts and will continue her education at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
“The purpose of the E-Club is to further raise awareness of the environment and environmental issues at hand to the college and surrounding community,” Anderson said. “The club is linked with the Isanti County Environmental Coalition. We help each other out with numerous things, such as cleaning the Rum River for a day. We also put together events to promote healthy living. The focus of the Earth Friendly Fair, which is a gathering of many green (many also local) products/ways of living/information, is to enhance the public’s understanding of the reality we are living. We also have many other clubs from the school incorporated in this event so all can enjoy and celebrate the fun of Earth day including the Art Club, Literary Club, Creative Writing Club and the music department.”
Anderson feels it’s her mission to help promote earth friendly measures.
“I got involved with the environmental club because I liked the idea of giving back to the world that has so much to offer me, and I felt it was the right thing to do,” she said. “I felt it would be a good way to respect this planet after all of the damage I have, unintentionally, caused it. I know if I had been given some better education about living green earlier, than I would have lived it back then, too. Now I am making it my mission to do that for others. I feel there isn’t enough information given out there to give many the basic understanding of what living green is all about, and how it can easily be incorporated into our lives, step by step even, to a healthier living and lifestyle.”
Wahlstrom, who teaches philosophy and humanities at the Cambridge Campus, has been the E-Club faculty advisor since its inception in the fall of 2010.
“I provide guidance and input to the students,” Wahlstrom explained. “The students in the E-Club are very passionate about the environment and want to do something about it. It’s so encouraging to see the younger generation excited about taking care of the environment, since it’s that generation who will be leading the world some day.”
Anderson’s passion for the environment comes from a few different aspects in her life.
“The main attribute is my artistic view of this world,” Anderson said. “I see the beauty in every aspect of it, as an artist normally would in his/her own special way. It stuns me that something so beautiful and amazing as a whole is just treated with no respect by one of the main inhabitants of it—humans. This is why I feel responsible to do my part, as an average citizen, in helping fix the way this world is perceived and treated by many.
“Another reason I feel so passionately for it is because I am a country girl. The environment was my world of fun. It should still be there to be another’s world of fun generations from now. The knowledge from school has helped me gain a better understanding and care for it, as well,” she added.
Wahlstrom explained this year’s theme of the Earth Friendly Fair is “There is No Planet B.”
“I love working at the college,” Wahlstrom said. “We have great students and faculty here who care about the community. I love the fact we are a community college, and have an emphasis on community, and reaching out the community. This Fair is a way to reach out the community and educate them on being environmentally-conscious, and get them thinking about ways they can help the environment.”
Whether it’s recycling for the first time or growing an organic garden, Anderson feels we all should do our part to help the earth.
“One person can make a difference—without that thought, we would not be where we are today,” Anderson said. “People leave an influence and affect everyone they encounter daily, whether it be through leaving an example, leaving a thought, leaving an idea or sharing a view. If everyone tries to make a difference individually, we will grow as a whole. I do believe one person can make a difference because I have seen it and personally felt the impact. Many are not aware of how powerful an impact they can leave. However, we should keep this in mind when we, ourselves, are the ones out there making the difference, intentionally or unintentionally.”
The Anoka Ramsey Community College – Cambridge Campus, is located at 300 Spirit River Drive South. For more information visit www.anokaramsey.edu