Many Union College students as well as faculty members have been avid supporters of Earth Day, ever since peace activist John McConnell and others came up with the idea in 1970.
This year, according to Union biology and environmental science professor Jeff Corbin, there seems to be a bit more interest than usual.
“We always gear up for Earth Day and Earth Week, and I think this year there’s more motivation to do something born out of a feeling to take action and to have our voice heard post-election,” said McConnell. “You don't see scientists taking to the street very often, but since Trump was elected it seems like scientific fact and the scientific method are both under assault. It's time to take off our lab coats, hit the streets, and tell the public what we think. Science fuels our economy and our health, and it also is very important for our ability to deal with climate change and to continue making advances in scientific knowledge."
Earth Week concludes Saturday with a number of regional events as well as a national Earth Day March for Science being held in Washington, D.C. The Capital Region, meanwhile, will be holding its own March for Science event Saturday at 1 p.m. on the West Lawn of the State Capitol.
"We're hoping people really turn out for this like they did for the women's march," said Corbin, who expects a large contingent of Union students and faculty to join him in Albany on Saturday. "The Trump administration is directing attacks on the science behind climate change and wanting to roll back the meager but at least hopeful policies of the Obama administration, and that's what is spurring our students, and our faculty and the whole Union community, to become much more active."
On Saturday, April 29, the People's Climate March will be held in Washington, D.C., and so far Corbin and about 30 Union students are registered to take a bus trip and participate in that event.
"We're going to be leaving on midnight, the 28th, and then come back 24 hours later having marched," said Corbin. "They're obviously closely related, but the March for Science and the People's Climate March are two separate and distinct events. We have chosen to go to the local science march this Saturday and then head to Washington for the national science march next week."
The University at Albany will be holding its fifth annual Family Earth Day Saturday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at University Hall.
The event is tailored for children and students grades K-12. According to Pamela Eck, a graduate teaching assistant in atmospheric & environment science, the goals of UAlbany Earth Day is to “help educate students about such fields of study as ecology, climate change and geology; emphasizing the importance of keeping the Earth clean and healthy; and sparking an interest and encouraging students to pursue careers in STEM.”
The Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center on New Karner Road is looking for volunteers to spend Earth Day in the Pine Bush working on a conservation program between 9 a.m.-noon.
At Sir William Johnson Park in Johnstown, Mothers Against Global Warming will hold its annual Earth Day/Clean Energy Fair from noon-2 p.m. Boy Scout Troop 104 will hold a bottle drive at the event, which will feature a number of informational booths and live music by Bill Ackerbauer.
The Woodlawn Neighborhood Association in Schenectady will be holding a "Give Back to the Community on Earth Day" event Saturday at Woodlawn Park from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., and is looking for volunteers to help with raking, sweeping, clearing brush and other tasks. Pizza and refreshments will be provided at noon.
Also in Schenectady, The Holy Name of Jesus Church at 1040 Pearl Street will hold a Mont Pleasant Neighborhood Clean-up from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
The New York State Canal Corporation, commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Erie Canal, is joining forces with Parks & Trails New York to celebrate Earth Day with the 12th annual Canal Clean Sweep, a series of cleaning events along the state Barge Canal System. Work sessions will be held on Saturday at the Corning Riverboat Launch in Albany, Lock 4 State Canal Park in Stillwater, Amsterdam City Hall and Riverside Park in Canajoharie.
The Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park will hold its Earth Day Celebration Saturday from 8:30 a.m.-noon at Camp Saratoga, and will include a family, one-mile fitness walk, a 5K run and pond exploration.
In Schoharie County, Earth Day will be celebrated with the Schoharie Blue Streak from 1-3 p.m. Saturday on Main Street in the village of Schoharie. Richard Ball, state commissioner of agriculture and markets, will be among the speakers along with three candidates for John Faso's seat from the 19th Congressional District, Brian Flynn, Steven Brisee and Antonio Delgado.
Moreau Lake State Park will conduct an Earth Day Hike Saturday from noon-4 p.m.
Also on Saturday, the Eastern New York Chapter of the Air & Waste Management Association will hand out nearly $14,000 in Environmental Education Grants to local schools in honor of Earth Day. Among the schools getting grants were Gloversville Middle School ($750), Shaker High School ($750), Shaker Road Elementary School ($615), The Free School in Albany ($500) and Wildwood Programs, Inc. in Schenectady ($750).