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Earth Day is early at UNM

Richardson, festivities make up rest of week’s events

What do former U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, 1,000 pieces of fruit and The Lewi Longmire Band have in common?

They are all part of this week’s campus Earth Day celebrations at UNM.

About six members of the Green Community Project will set up information tables outside of Zimmerman Library today to talk about this week’s events, environmental issues and the four environmental elements — fire, earth, air and water.

The fifth element, which is the human connection that brings the four elements together, comes Friday with UNM’s Earth Day Festival, which includes 40 community groups, four speakers, rescued animals from Talking Talons, free yoga lessons, a climbing wall, giveaways, 1,000 pieces of free fruit and a live performance from the Lewi Longmire Band.

The celebration will be by the Duck Pond from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is sponsored by NMPIRG, Green Community Project, National Wildlife Federation Campus Ecology and will feature local comedy troupe Surely You Jest. The Lewi Longmire Band, from Seattle, will perform at 12:30 p.m. and William Twofeather will play a double-barreled eagle flute at 1:30 p.m. Longmire was part of the former Albuquerque band Apricot Jam.

On Sunday, Richardson will speak about energy at 5:30 p.m. in Rodey Theater after an Earth Day festival outside of Popejoy Hall from noon to 5 p.m. The festival will include information tables, demonstrations and interactive displays. People also can volunteer for the UNM Campus Clean-Up that begins at noon.

Sunday’s events are sponsored by the Green Community Project, Earth Day Coalition of New Mexico, the City of Albuquerque and Keep Albuquerque Beautiful.

Daniel Abram, the executive director of Talking Talons, said he will probably bring a falcon, hawk, some bats and snakes to Friday’s event.

Talking Talons is a youth development organization where children can gain knowledge about the environment by learning how wild animals that are now caged or dependent got their injuries. Abram said children learn about the effects of pesticides and hunting, among other things, which enables them to educate the public and increases their self-esteem.

He said children will probably speak at the event.

“We make an effort to bring some kids to every presentation so they can do some talking,” he said. “That’s the whole point.”

Karyn Stockdale of the Green Community Project said UNM students can learn about common uses for solar energy, how to camp safely and respectfully, recycling and how to conserve water, among many other things, at information tables throughout the week.

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The Green Community Project is a student organization that works to improve environmental awareness on campus by connecting students to environmental community organizations and encouraging volunteer projects.

Stockdale said about 30 volunteers have signed up to for Sunday’s Campus Clean-Up Event, and prizes will be given to participants. She said that campus employees are paid to clean up trash but the goal of the event is to pick up what they have missed or what has blown around.

“One of the things we’ll do is go back to the Duck Pond and make sure we didn’t leave any trash behind,” she said, referring to Friday’s bash.

Stockdale said she is looking forward to Friday’s celebration most of all.

Siobhan Asgharzadeh of the campus chapter of NMPIRG said the group has been working since the beginning of the semester to pull together the Earth Day celebration.

“Press releases, posters — it’s been tough,” she said.

Asgharzadeh said she is looking for students to fill work-study positions, volunteer or become interns at campus NMPIRG. Interns can earn 400-level University credit. For more information, call 277-2757.

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