Earth Day 2015: Celebrate Spring!

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earth dayTrees are good for more than hugging!

A one-acre tree lot makes enough oxygen for 18 people to breathe for an entire year while consuming all the carbon dioxide an average car can make driving 26,000 miles.

Earth Day’s 45th anniversary on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 has selected as its motto, “It’s our turn to lead.” One of its signature goals for 2015 is The Canopy Project whose aim is to plant a billion trees worldwide. It has been estimated that by the time a tree reaches 40 years old it has turned 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into thousands of board feet of good lumber. Earth Day isn’t just the Industrialized World’s way to make up for its excesses; it is the Developing World’s investment in its future.

In 1970, San Francisco activist John McConnell and Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson separately asked Americans to join in Earth Day, a grassroots demonstration to gather national support for environmental issues. Millions of people took part. The most common practice today is the planting of new trees.
In Western New York, the recent end of Maple Sugar season dovetails nicely with the tree planting season as the Sugar Maple itself is New York State’s official tree. The Maple tree planted this year will sweeten New York’s tables for many years to come.

Think Globally – Act Locally

The year 2015 is also the 100th anniversary of the phrase “Think globally, act locally”, attributed to Scottish town planner and social activist Patrick Geddes in his 1915 book, “Cities in Evolution.”

With spring 2015 now unmistakably underway across Chautauqua County, local signs of city beautification, neighborhoods cleaning up and front yard flower gardens waking up, greet residents at every turn. City sidewalk planters are coming into bloom and suburban streets are beginning to flower. April is Keep America Beautiful Month.

Jamestown Community College will once again present its annual Earthfest in celebration of Earth Day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, April 22. The event is sponsored by JCC’s Earth Awareness Club and the college program committee of the JCC Faculty Student Association. Weather permitting, Earthfest will be held outdoors the Hamilton Collegiate Center near the pond, otherwise, in the Student Union. It is free and the public is invited.
The Earth Awareness Club will conduct a tree seedling adoption, made possible by donations from the Chautauqua County Soil and Water Conservation District. Proceeds from the sale of fairly traded products by club members will be donated to environmental organizations, including the Honeybee Conservancy, the Dolphin Research Center in Florida, Monterey Bay Aquarium’s rescue efforts, and the Chautauqua County Humane Society.

True to the traditions of American education, Earthfest also promotes Earth Day’s three Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Earthfest features various educational displays, the sale of ecofriendly products, nature photography, jewelry, plants, and educational displays by local environmental organizations, including live animals for interactive education. Earthfest features music by acoustic guitarist Jamie Haight, beginning at 11. At noon, Jeff Musial, a frequent guest on the “Late Show with Jimmy Fallon,” will present a program with animals from Nickel City Reptiles and Exotics.

Arbor Day

Arbor Day was founded in the U.S. in 1872 in Nebraska City, Nebraska when an estimated one million trees were planted in a single day, and it has been celebrated for more than a century in New York on the last Friday in April, this year on April 24.

Jamestown has been awarded the Tree City USA designation every year for the last 34 years and received its fifth Growth Award in 2014 honoring environmental improvements in its city forestry program, in a program sponsored by The National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service and the state forestry agencies.
Tree City USA provides direction, technical assistance, public attention and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs.

To commemorate Arbor Day locally, JCC will hold a special tree planting ceremony at 12:15 p.m. on Friday, April 24. The public is invited to attend the event, which will be held at the northern end of the Science Center grounds. JCC was the first community college in New York to be named a Tree Campus USA college and has maintained the designation for six consecutive years.

WNY Get Outdoors

The EPA and The Nature Conservancy are partnering on a photo project this April for Keep America Beautiful Month, encouraging everyone to show their love for nature by taking their very own #NatureSelfie photo. The goal of this project is to get people outside on Earth Day and connect with nature and share their love for our great Earth!

Jamestown Gazette readers can go to the #NatureSelfie website, http://epa.gov/region02/earthday/ for details on how to take and post Earth Day photos of Jamestown, their favorite nature spots across Chautauqua County, Western New York and Warren County, PA. Send Earth Day selfies to news@Jamestowngazette, too, to win a spot and photo credit on next week’s Jamestown Gazette Photo Page.

On the day after Arbor Day, Chautauqua County invites local residents and out of town guests alike to enjoy Tour Lake Erie Wine Country, an association of 25 wineries between Silver Creek, NY and Harborcreek, PA, with a Wine and Art Saturday on April 25th. Wine and Art Saturday is a free event from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. with artists on location at participating wineries to display, sell, and demonstrate their works – from paintings and sculptures to photography and glass.

Whether it is for April, Keep America Beautiful Month; Earth Day, April 22nd; Arbor Day, April 24th or for Wine and Art Saturday on April 25th, Western New York and Warren County, PA invite everyone outdoors to celebrate Springtime 2015.

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.