Food, trees, swaps and electric cars at Earth Day 2014

By Michael Cohen

UMass Medical School Communications

April 15, 2014

Earth DayIt will be a hands-on Earth Day celebration at UMass Medical School this year, with local foods to eat, seedlings to take home and new opportunities to swap, donate or recycle stuff that’s been stacking up in the office, basement, garage or book shelves.

The event is set for Tuesday, April 22, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with 50 (and counting) organizations filling up the school lobbies and the Faculty Conference Room on the Worcester campus. Locally grown foods, honey made by local bees, energy efficient products and services will be featured. Plug-in electric and hybrid cars will be on display in front of the main Medical School entrance.

New this year will be a campus SWAP table, as a physical extension of the virtual Surplus With A Purpose (SWAP) sharing site on the UMMS intranet. “We have an enthusiastic group of green representatives from departments across campus, and this was a great idea they brought to the table,” said Melissa Lucas, energy and sustainability manager. “We hope people will bring down small office items, supplies or even books from home that they don’t need, but that might be useful for others on campus.”

For those who want to actually grow something green this year, the UMMS Sustainability table will have 300 Norway Spruce seedlings to give away as rewards for visitors who fill up their event card by visiting at least six vendor tables.

Earth Day will feature three collection efforts in the Pine Tree parking lot: the ever-popular electronics recycling through E.L. Harvey, plus a clothing and fabric collection to benefit the Epilepsy Foundation of New England, and the collection of gently used furniture or building materials for Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore program. (A second collection event will be held at the UMMS South Street campus in Shrewsbury on May 2.)

“Reusing material that still has value instead of burning or burying it in landfills is one of the best things we can do as a community to promote sustainability,” Lucas said. “So I hope people will start planning now for what materials they could bring to campus on Earth Day.”

Unlike previous years, no televisions, air conditioners or dehumidifiers will be accepted at the electronics collection. For a full list of participating organizations, and details about the materials accepted by ReStore, E.L. Harvey and the Epilepsy Foundation on Earth Day or at South Street on May 2 see: http://www.umassmed.edu/growinggreen/earthday2014.aspx.