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A busy Earth Month 2024

This year’s Earth Month programing spanned the sustainability spectrum.

From sharing seeds of native plants, to churning a free smoothie with pedal power, to exploring environmental justice as a public health issue, cleaning Lake Park in Worcester and touring the plant  that processes the recyclables from campus, a wide range of Earth Month events attracted hundreds of participants.

“It feels good that we were able to include everybody, whether they work on campus, hybrid or fully remote,” said Kortni Wroten, sustainability and energy manager at UMass Chan, who led the Earth Month programming. “This approach opens it up for more people to participate than would if it was just one Earth Day or even one week, so I think we will continue with Earth Month for next year.”

The home electronics collection was, once again, an Earth Month favorite. It was a busy morning with people dropping off a total of 1,255 pounds of items, including, air conditioners, televisions, vacuums, computers and peripherals, and even a refrigerator. UMass Chan sponsors a home electronics collection periodically as a service to the campus community. It is also a component of the school’s stormwater management plan. Ensuring the reuse or recycling of electronic appliances helps prevent them from improper disposal that could be a threat to the environment.

Earth Month 2024 featured the first-ever campus Wellness Fair organized by the Office of Well-Being. “It was an amazing day,” said Shelby Smyth, wellness program manager who organized the fair. “It just showed us how important it is to have all these health and wellness services and resources accessible to our community in one place.”

Held on the first floor of the Albert Sherman Center, the fair featured 40 exhibitors including volunteers from UMass Chan departments, local businesses and community organizations. A range of free services were provided, including biometric screenings, vision screenings, haircuts for students, chair massage and professional headshots for use in career development.

The popular “smoothie bicycle” was on hand at the fair as wells as a salad demonstration table sponsored by Little Leaf Farms in Devens and organized by NexDine. An estimated 500 people attended the fair.  “This was our first Wellness Fair, and it exceeded our expectations. We definitely plan on making this an annual event,” Smyth said.

The UMass Chan Pollination Association and the student-run Community Garden hosted a Seed Share Fair, to do just what the event name implies—share seeds. “It was well received by everyone who was passing by,” said Tess Grynoch, research data and scholarly communications librarian at the Lamar Soutter Library, and co-chair of the Pollination Association. “We were inundated with the number of people. From the time we opened until we closed, we had at least 10 people around the table at all times.

Members of the garden club and Pollination Association brought in seeds they had collected from their own gardens and the UMass Chan Office of Sustainability donated seed packets for native wildflowers.

“Everyone who came got some seeds,” Grynoch said. “It was nice to be able to share a love of gardening with other people at UMass Chan. Our goal was to help people get into gardening and encourage plants to support pollinators, beneficial insects, and growing your own fruits and vegetables for healthy eating.”

To see a full line-up of Earth Month 2024 events, visit