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Sustainability at Wake Forest

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2014 Piedmont Earth Day Fair

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

The 9th annual Piedmont Earth Day Fair will be held Saturday, April 26, 2014 at the Dixie Classic Fairgrounds from 10 AM – 5  PM. Founded by Piedmont Environmental Alliance, the Piedmont Earth Day Fair is the Triad’s largest Earth Day Celebration and environmental education event, drawing crowds of 8,000+.  With support of local sponsors and community partners, the Piedmont Earth Day Fair is full of enrichment activities for kids of all ages, live entertainment throughout the day and a variety of food and beverage options.  The event is free to the public including free parking.

Faces of Sustainability: Charles Adair

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Piedmont Environmental Alliance NC created a paid Executive Director position by hiring recent Duke University Nicholas School of Environment graduate Charles Adair in September. Terri LeGrand formerly served as the director in a voluntary capacity.

At only 24, Adair already has seven years of sustainability education under his belt. He was first drawn to sustainability as a high school senior and pursued the field fervently throughout his undergraduate work as an Environmental Science and Economics double major at William & Mary. In May, Adair wrapped up his master’s degree at Duke and found his way to the Piedmont through the NC Conservation Network.

Though Adair was hired in large part because the Piedmont Earth Day Festival has grown so much over the last few years, he will also focus much of his time on educational programs for community members. “We need to use the resources we have to continue building our resource base so that down the road, we have all that we need at our fingertips,” he said.

To further this end, he has been working on updating the web site and developing a Speaker’s Bureau. This will serve as a catalogue of local sustainability experts so that PEA can easily connect interested community organizations with experts in various fields.

“We are really pushing to show our community what we have available. Our product is information, but that is sometimes overlooked,” Adair said.

One of the biggest challenges to this goal is helping other people understand the importance of environmentalism as more than just saving the environment. According to Adair, his high school AP Environmental Studies teacher, who first sparked his interest in the subject, said it best. “People were asking worst case scenario questions about what would happen if we continue to harm the earth. My teacher said ‘Oh, I’m not worried about the earth. Even if we destroy everything, the earth will still be here, but we won’t.”

Adair’s personal sustainability focus is on water conservation, but his favorite tip for those interested in making an initial lifestyle change is dietary. “Eat less meat,” he says simply. “Food is one of the easiest, most accessible things people can do, to have a big impact. We have to help people relate and to do this, people must understand that we benefit from the environment all the time. That’s what PEA is trying to make visible.”

Editor’s note: Charles Adair moved on from PEANC as of Spring 2011.

By Caitlin Brooks, Communications and Outreach Intern

Earth Day celebration encourages action

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Attendees made sustainable pledges and attached them to the student constructed bottle tower.The 5th annual Piedmont Earth Day Fair,sponsored by the Piedmont Environmental Alliance, was held on Davis Field on April 17. Nearly 8,000 people attended the fair themed around the idea “Day of Action.” More than 100 exhibitors demonstrated a variety of ways to reduce your impact on the planet from switching to sustainable commuting methods, to buying local organics and exploring the great outdoors. Hundreds of attendees took action by pledging their support to minimize the negative environmental impact of their own lives. The green pledgers wrote down attainable goals on slips and paper and attached them to the walls of a Bottle Tower constructed by university community members from recycled materials found on campus.

The university’s Earth Day celebration kicked off on the 21st in the Reynolda Fresh Foods Company. Local farmers brought produce to distribute at the dining hall and the Pit featured locally sourced ingredients on the lunch menu. That night, Ben Harper and Relentless 7 performed in Wait Chapel as part of the Campus Consciousness Tour.

Several events around campus lent a reflective nature to the celebration the following week. On April 22nd, the Native American Student Association held a ceremony to bless the garden at the intersection of Faculty and Wingate Drive. University staff have begun to reintroduce native species of plants to the already biodiverse space that was once just a storm-water run-off area. The garden is now designed as a meditative place of reflection for members of the Wake Forest community. It was named Nvwotohida gadvtv – the Cherokee name for a meditative or healing garden.

Other members of the university community joined the celebration as well. The Library Lecture Series in ZSR featured a panel that discussed use of the campus as a Living Classroom. Members from the biology, English, history, and religion departments discussed they ways they use the campus for research and teaching.

Be sure to check out photos from the Day of Action on our flickr page and at Terri LeGrand’s Picasa.

Caitlin Brooks, Outreach and Communications Intern