(Above) A presenter from the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center discusses the center’s work with injured birds of prey during Preston Ridge’s Earth Day. More photos are available at http://www.collin.edu/webgalleries/earthday2017/index.htm.

Students, faculty and staff celebrated Earth Day with activities of all kinds around Preston Ridge Campus, each with its own twist on conservation, preservation or living more sustainably together.  

Dozens of displays filled the PRC quad. From a hawk and owl exhibition put on by the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center showing how they are helping beautiful birds of prey to the replanting of an herb garden by culinary students, the celebration was one of information and action.

Keith Wanse, who was dressed in a coat of plastic grocery bags to illustrate how many are used by a single family in one year, walked just a few yards away from a table run by Professor Meredith Martin and Dr. Lupita Tinnen giving out free shopping bags made from recycled cloth and donated by The Green Bag Lady of Colorado to encourage reuse of a single bag. Elijah Tech, who was working with Wanse, explained the thought behind the display.

“I think it provides visual aids to problems that people know exist, but might not stop and think about,” Tech said. “You know that plastic bags are a problem, but here is an actual representation of that problem.”

Not far from their display was a table run by the Global Diplomatic Society. GDS President Andrew Aguilar noted that getting people involved at this Earth Day event might lead to changes in their behavior.

“A lot of people are aware that it is good to recycle and do other things like that, but we want to get people thinking about these things,” he said. “That’s why we have not only an information board, but also a quiz that makes people think about it.

“The more you participate and get involved, the more likely you are to do something.”

Preston Ridge culinary students - herb garden

Culinary students pose for a photo after planting herbs on Preston Ridge Campus for Earth Day.

Culinary students provided not only a sweet treat for Earth Day participants – bread pudding – but also helped describe a greener future for the campus by sharing plans for a community garden. The garden is being put forward as an Innovation Challenge request and Chef Jill McCord said it will provide an outlet for students, staff and the community.

“We will open it up to the college – clubs and organizations, whoever wants to have a plot – and then we will open it up to the community,” McCord said, noting not only culinary, but also biology and geology classes as potential beneficiaries of the garden. “It is just a great way to keep using the campus, even when classes aren’t going on. It keeps people coming back to the campus.”