So today begins the count down until next year’s Green Week. It seems like every year the festivities go by so fast, Green Week feels more like a Green Minute. There were so many great educational events that attending them all was difficult to keep up with. Well here is a brief break down of what the week held and what you may have missed.
Mississippi River Dance:
The Mississippi River Dance was a multi-medium performance featuring the Mississippi: The Dance Company, and several writers and biologists from the University. The performance took us on a tour down the Mississippi River via scale model of the river on Mud Island River Park.
The performance taught the audience about the history and biology of the river, while sharing poems and writings about river folklore. The mythos was accompanied with movement and dance inspired by the river. The performance culminated with the dancers leaping triumphantly into the model Gulf of Mexico.
It was a beautiful day in Memphis, TN, and a terrific way to begin Green Week 2016!
Tree Trail Walk:
The Tree Trail Walk was a enjoyable and educational walk through the trees of Ole Miss. The walk was led by Landscape Supervisor Nathan Lazinsky. Students learned the various names of the Ole Miss trees and how each received its nickname.
With trees named George and Martha Washington and the famed reputation of our Champion Tree, the stories of our trees are endearing and quite winsome. Students were surprised to learn that the scenery that they walk by everyday held so much character.
The Tree Trail Walk proved to be as much fun as it was informative. Nathan, as always, rocked as the Tree Trail’s yearly tour guide.
The Sustainability Fair was the height of Green Week. On Wednesday, sustainable groups and vendors gathered to put on the 8th Annual Sustainability fair, featuring local farms, garden groups, and educational booths.
Students participated to collect black beans from each vendor, which they turned in to collect prizes. Students hurriedly visited each booth and learned about sustainability in order to snag the limited supply Green Week T, frisbee, button and sticker.
The fair also featured a photo contest and a carbon foot print calculator. Those that visited learned a lot and left with some great swag.
“Something In Our Water: Perspectives On Flint, Jackson, and Environmental Racism in America” Panel Discussion:
What does the environment have to do with children’s ability to succeed? During this panel discussion, UM experts discussed the lead crisis in Flint, Michigan, and its similarities to the emerging crisis in Jackson, Mississippi. The panel touched on related policies such as the Safe Drinking Water Act as well as factors that contributed to the crises including environmental racism and capitalism.
Panelists included Catherine Janasie, of the Mississippi Law Research Institute and National SeaGrant Law Center; Buka Okoye, UM NAACP representative and public policy student; Jennifer Stollman, academic director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation; and Kristie Willett, UM professor of environmental toxicology.
Brunch and Bloom:
The Brunch and Bloom was hosted at the RC Garden and proved a fresh brunch with a side of knowledge. Brunchers spent the morning learning about the benefits of composting and local gardening. The brunch provided was made of ingredients from the RC Garden.
Keynote Speaker: Linda Hogan “Speaking Earth”
Linda Hogan is a Native American poet, playwright, novelist, public speaker, and author of short stories with a focus on environmental issues, indigenous culture, and tribal history. She is currently on faculty at the Indian Arts Institute and is the Former Writer in Residence for The Chickasaw Nation.
Her speech, “Speaking Earth” was a phenomenal comparative look at how the Earth communicates with us all. Her oratory gave new meaning to our connection with the Earth and brought us all closer to planet.
Earth Day Nature and Yoga Hike
The Earth Day Nature and Yoga Hike was an event tailor made for Earth Day. The event was rejuvenating for the mind and body.
A peaceful hike and yoga session, in a prime nook of Whirlpoole Trails, provided students with a chance to lose some stress and connect with nature. Spending the morning among the trees in the forest air reminded participants that the greatest joys are the simple ones. Fresh air and tranquility made for a fitting start to this Earth Day.
Arbor Day Celebration
The Arbor Day Celebration and Tree Planting Ceremony capped off the end of the on campus events. Landscape Services Director Jeff McManus led this year’s Arbor Day ceremony. This year’s celebration included the planting of a White Oak in front of Brevard Hall.
30 Ceremony attendees also took home their own Ole Miss Champion tree seedling. Landscape Services dug up the seedlings and the Office of Sustainability helped pot them in early March. The post bore individual name that readers might recognize, such as Presidential Candidate Fernie Sanders, President Bark Obama, Singer Atreetha Franklin, and Martial Artist Bruce Tree.
The event taught attendees about the process of tree planting, and with hope they will put that knowledge to good use.
So now we wait. Only one more year until UM Green Week returns. However, as long as we remember what we learned and stay sustainabl,, Green Week can be every week of the year!