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Yuba College rallies for the planet
Celebrating Earth Day
Harold Whitson Jr. can remember carrying an ecology lunchbox to school in the 1970s.
Forty years ago people were calling attention to the problems the planet faced, and yet the challenges seem to be growing, he said. He does not understand why action is so slow to occur.
"Look how long it took people to get into recycling," he said. "It's kind of a sad thing."
But Mother Nature also does some of her own work to restore the planet, Whitson said.
"Earth is like a giant dog and we're its fleas," he said. "And every once in a while it has to shake to get the fleas off it."
Education always helps, and so Whitson was happy to see Yuba College celebrating Earth Day last week, with a tree planting, readings of "The Giving Tree" and a display of posters about alternative energy.
"I'd like to think that anyone here at school is here to learn," he said. "More knowledge is more power."
Projects about alternative power sources were strung tree-to-tree, with information on nuclear, solar, wind and other energies. Each poster explained how the energy worked, its pros and cons and some fun facts.
Instructor Mandeep Grewal said the project was assigned in groups to her 81 students in "Ecology 10" class, and the public display was a mandatory component.
"It links the class to reality and outside people can get some information," she said.
Brittany Wooten and her group opted for solar energy because they think it's the best, but she was surprised to learn some other options were not as bad as she thought, such as nuclear power.
Hydroelectric power through the use of dams appear to have some of the greatest disadvantages, she said.
"I didn't know anything about this until I took the class," she said. "I'm learning how the environment works (and) our impacts on it."
In addition to the "Ecology 10" class' display, the Green Futures Club, with its motto "Grow with us," was selling plants for fundraising at the festival, and the Marysville Common Garden Coalition spoke about its vision for community gardening in downtown Marysville.
With just a few pieces of scrap wood, some meshed wire and simple hand tools, English instructor Brian Condrey showed how people can craft boxes that easily and sustainably grow lettuce, herbs and shallow-rooted vegetables.
"It'll help people save money and create something beautiful," Condrey said. "I want to promote that people can grow their own food."
As passers-by strolled from class to class, students scrawled with chalk on the sidewalk, writing phrases like "Drink water," "Live Green," and "Save the snails!"
"Most schools should have an Earth Day," said art student Ann Howard as she drew a tree with the planet as its canopy.
"It's a noble cause," added art student Samantha Dulay. "We've got one planet. There may be a whole bunch of lives for us, but there is only one life for this planet."
Grounds maintenance worker Donna Howard added a bit of new life to the Yuba College campus during the celebration, planting a Cherokee crepe myrtle on the lawn, not too far from where a coastal redwood was planted for Earth Day last year.
"I think more people need to start paying attention to Mother Earth and how she needs our help to stay healthy," Howard said. "(This tree) will help shade her soil and provide oxygen."
Yuba College Maintenance man James Fleenor rapped a poem he had written in honor of Earth Day. He's been writing poetry for a while but just starting going public with it.
"Earth is the only home. We have to learn to live with it, we have to learn to live with the planet," he said.
CONTACT reporter Ashley Gebb at 749-4783.