Vol. 12 No. 9 - April, 2010

UMMS gears up to celebrate Earth Day

Thursday, April 22

earth day

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of International Earth Day, vendors from around Central Massachusetts will be at UMass Medical School offering a selection of locally and organically grown produce, handmade soaps and body products, showcasing energy efficient products and offering information about sustainable living.

More than 50 vendors will be on hand for the fifth annual UMMS Earth Day Festival on Thursday, April 22, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Faculty Conference Room and Medical School lobbies. “Earth Day is an important time for us to take a step back and re-examine our effect on the environment,” said Melissa L. Lucas, UMMS sustainability and energy manager. “By making even a small commitment to recycle or maximize our use of renewable resources, collectively, we can reduce our carbon footprint enormously.”

Pietzo Electric Bikes is joining this year’s roster of returning participants. A start-up company out of Bedford, Pietzo will be showcasing its hybrid electric bikes. Billed by the company as an eco-friendly form of personal transportation, the electric-powered bikes can be operated by motor power, pedal power or a combination of both. While the bikes are capable of reaching speeds of 18 mph, bikers can rely on the electric motor for long or strenuous journeys or switch to the manual option if exercise is the goal. Visitors will have the opportunity to test the bikes out on Earth Day.

First-year medical student Max Fraden will also be in attendance from 1 to 2 p.m. and again from 4 to 5 p.m. to present and demonstrate his award-winning invention, the Nuru Light. Based on advanced hand-crank technology, the Nuru Light uses a pedal generator similar to an incumbent bike to generate electricity, which is then stored in batteries. These batteries can be used to power lights, and eventually small household electronics, such as radios and cell phones. Fraden and his Nuru Light team recently received first place at the 6th annual Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition (GSEC) at the University of Washington’s Michael G. Foster School of Business. Nuru Light was conceived as a safe and environmentally friendly replacement for kerosene as a lighting fuel source in Rwanda and other developing countries.

Other vendors include homemade soap purveyor Molly's Apothecary; organic farm coop Sweetwilliam Farm, The Q Arts Corporation and K.E. Farm Maple Products, among others. The Worcester Regional Transit Authority will also be on hand to answer questions about the UMMS bus pass program for employees. For more information about UMMS Earth Day festivities, contact Becky Chlapowski at 508-856-6713 or visit the Growing Green Web site.