Media contacts: Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209 or Christine_Gillette@uml.edu and Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944 or Nancy_Cicco@uml.edu
LOWELL, Mass. – Earth Day is observed every April 22 across the globe to raise awareness about environmental protection and sustainability.
This year, thanks to more than two dozen community partners, Lowell is dedicating the entire month of April to eco-conscious activities and educational events as part of Lowell Earth Day Celebration 2016.
A collaborative effort of 26 organizations – including UMass Lowell, the city of Lowell, Middlesex Community College, the Lowell National Historical Park and Mill City Grows – the celebration includes canal and city clean-up days, whitewater rafting trips on the Concord River, screenings of films about climate change, art workshops, sustainability lectures and more.
It all culminates with the Earth Day Festival on Saturday, April 23 at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, where more than 30 nonprofit organizations and garden and energy companies will be on hand to educate the public about sustainability. The free festival, which is preceded by an Earth Day Parade in downtown Lowell, will feature live music and dance performances.
The community-wide celebration was made possible through a $30,000 grant awarded to UMass Lowell Political Science Prof. John Wooding in 2015 through the UMass President’s Office’s Creative Economy Fund.
“We want to engage children, our students and the entire community to ignite ideas on how we move forward to protect the environment, prevent and prepare for climate-change disasters and promote sustainable practices in our lives,” said Wooding, a member of the university’s Climate Change Initiative, which is comprised of students, faculty and staff.
UMass Lowell’s Office of Sustainability has played a key role in coordinating this year’s Lowell Earth Day Celebration, which kicked off with a panel discussion on “Accelerating the Green Energy Transition” on Wednesday, April 6 at University Crossing.
“Integrating our Earth Day celebration with the surrounding community’s furthers our institutional mission of one city, one campus,” said Tyler Arrigo, program coordinator for Office of Sustainability.
Arrigo added that the Earth Day Festival, which also features urban gardening workshops led by Mill City Grows, will provide students with opportunities to connect with local organizations.
“A lot of the organizations are looking for interns or have job opportunities, so it’s a great way for students to make connections with a wide array of community partners,” he said. “It’s also a great way to see what’s out there in the city in a very unique way.”
A full schedule of events can be found at www.lowellearthday.org. They include:
- Concord River rafting trips every Saturday and Sunday in April at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., starting at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, 50 Warren St., Lowell. Presented by the Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust, UMass Lowell and Zoar Outdoor. The cost is $83 per person.
- UMass Lowell canal cleanup on Saturday, April 16 from 9 a.m. to noon starting at Mack Plaza, located at the intersection of Market, Shattuck and Dutton streets in downtown Lowell.
- The Earth Day Parade starts at noon on Saturday, April 23 at the Lowell National Historical Park Visitor Center, 304 Dutton St., Lowell, and proceeds down Shattuck Street to Middlesex Street en route to the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center. The mile-long parade features four brass bands as well as local schoolchildren and youth groups displaying puppets they created throughout the month.
- Mill City Grows hosts the Urban Growers Gathering, featuring gardening workshops and seed swaps, on Saturday, April 23, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center.
- Students involved in the UMass Lowell Climate Change Initiative are creating short films that will be screened on Tuesday, April 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the Lowell National Historical Park Visitor Center.
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