How is MKE celebrating Earth Day?

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Photo by Alex DeBuhr

Earth day is Thursday April 22

Milwaukee continues to celebrate Earth Day 52 years after Wisconsin U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson founded it in 1970 with the help of 20 million demonstrators in different cities.

The implementation of Earth Day was meant to create awareness among the American public about the damage that both they as individuals and corporations were causing the environment.

Today, the United Nations, scientists and environmental activists warn the public about the rising sea levels, droughts and worsening living conditions climate change could create; and Earth Day still presents an opportunity to confront how our behaviors can impact the Earth.

“Living in an urban environment today means being often disconnected from nature. Earth Day can bring the environment back to the forefront of the minds of Milwaukee residents. It provides an excellent educational opportunity for the younger generations attending schools that celebrate this holiday,” Matt Dupasquier, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said.

Dupasquier will be celebrating Earth Day by continuing to work on his senior project with his team. The design is meant to create use out of underutilized spaces on campus by making a permeable pavement amphitheater which will be placed behind the Haggerty Museum.

“The added stormwater storage should help solve flooding problems that the museum has been having as well as provide a place for natural stormwater infiltration instead of directing this water into Milwaukee’s combined sewer system,” Dupasquier said.

The design also projects the usage of a bioswale, which is a type of man-made trench, placed on the lawn of Sensenbrenner Hall to reduce the amount and increase the quality of rainwater in the area.

Dupasquier and his team are not the only ones striving toward a more sustainable campus. Marquette Sustainability is hosting a reuse fair April 21 at the Alumni Memorial Union West Lawn from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Additionally, Late Night Marquette will be hosting a DIY event where students can learn how to make their own laundry detergent April 29 from 2-4 p.m.

Other activities on campus include making several environmental professionals available to students, and communal prayer for Earth Day April 22 at 9 p.m. in the garden outside the St. Joan of Arc Chapel.

However, opportunities to celebrate Earth Day also exist outside of the 107 acres that encompass Marquette’s campus.

“With Earth Day starting in Wisconsin 52 years ago, it’s easy to see why people get so excited for April and Earth Day,” said Davita Flowers-Shanklin, volunteer program manager at the Urban Ecology Center, said.

The Urban Ecology Center is a Milwaukee-based organization that specializes in creating environmental awareness specifically in cities. The organization has three branches, but they are only celebrating Earth Day in Riverside Park by organizing a park cleanup in partnership with Milwaukee River Keeper, a science-based advocacy organization working for swimmable, fishable rivers throughout the Milwaukee River Basin.

Due to scheduling conflicts, there are no other activities dedicated to Earth Day that the organization will be overseeing.

“Usually we try to schedule events on Saturdays to make sure that as many people as possible can come. Since Earth Day happens to land on a Friday this year, we weren’t able to accommodate this time,” Chris Steinkamp, branch manager of Riverside Park, said.

Additionally, there are several volunteer opportunities throughout the week and the year in all three parks where the center has stations.

Although Riverside is the main branch of the Urban Ecology Center, the other two branches based in Washington Park and Menomonee Park are closer to Marquette. The organization also works with service learners and students looking for volunteer hours.

This story was written by Clara Lebrón. She can be reached at clara.lebron@marquette.edu