Students and animals all scurried around the Valencia East Campus Mall Area on Thursday to celebrate upcoming Earth Day, originally commemorated on April 22nd.
The Earth Day Celebration on Valencia Campus is annually hosted by the Valencia Earth Studies Association (VESA) and sponsored by Student Development since 2012. “We (VESA) mainly want to raise people’s awareness about environmental issues and the different types of environmental habitats [that are] in Florida,” said James Adamski, VESA representative and professor of geology.
Students walked around and visited different booths in order to learn things like “how many species of bats live in Florida” (13) and “why are gopher tortoises so important to other animals” (they dig burrows that other animals use). Those who were able to complete the quiz won a free Earth Day t-shirt that read a Native American Proverb, “we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”.
All students who attended the event were given a free Earth Day handbag.
Representatives from the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey and the Central Florida Zoo brought out birds and reptiles like the screech owl, American kestrel, white’s tree frog, and red footed tortoise to show to the students. “Bringing animals to the event was a great way to get us interested and relay the message of Earth Day,” said Shaheen Soto, 18 year old biomedical science major. “We really got to see who was being affected by Global Warming and other issues that affect the planet,” she added.
Some brave students were given the opportunity to hold a bullsnake and was informed that bullsnakes defecate on themselves when they are unable to scare away predators.
Representatives from other organizations like the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, City of Orlando Stormwater, Florida Fossil Hunters, Wekiwa Springs, and the League of Women Voters also attended VESA’s Earth Day event.
To help protect the Earth, students can “recycle, lower their carbon footprint (which is the carbon emissions that is released from driving a car), get a car that has better gas mileage, reduce meat consumption, change the light bulbs of their house to LED lights, and vote for people who care about the environment and care about climate change,” Adamski stated.
“My science teacher James Adamski said it (pollution and climate change) is going to start affecting us between 20-30 years from now. We should start taking that into consideration and make a change,” said 19 year old public relations major, Christina Arenas.