Earth Day signA tree-planting ceremony with President Robert S. Nelsen will kick off Earth Day at Sac State. (Photo courtesy of Sac State Sustainability)

Sacramento State’s robust urban forest will grow by one special tree when the University celebrates Earth Day 2016 on Thursday, April 14, in the Library Quad.

President Robert S. Nelsen will help to plant an interior live oak, a drought-tolerant California native species, at 10 a.m. in the lawn near Brighton and Eureka halls.

The tree-planting ceremony is the kickoff to Earth Day, presented by Sac State Sustainability. Activities will include live music, food trucks, educational booths, the collection of recyclables, the Greek organizations’ annual recycling competition, a display of electric vehicles, and an appearance by Scooter, the Sacramento region’s “Spare the Air” mascot.

The first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, launched the modern environmental movement, and each year more than 1 billion people participate in Earth Day experiences. Earth Day Network’s goal is 7.8 billion trees planted worldwide by Earth Day’s 50th anniversary in 2020.

Sacramento State boasts 3,500 trees and has been honored by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree Campus USA each year since 2012.

Wielding “golden” shovels alongside President Nelsen at the ceremony will be Melissa Bardo, president of Associated Students Inc. (ASI); Lorelai Bayne, vice chair of the Department of Theatre & Dance and vice chair of the Faculty Senate; and Michael Hendren, president of University Staff Assembly. They will shovel custom-made Sac State compost into the hole dug for the interior live oak. Ali Izadian, interim vice president for Administration and Business Affairs, will introduce the participants.

Here’s the rest of the Earth Day 2016 schedule, with all but one event to be held on the Library Quad.

  • Children’s story time: Fifty youngsters who attend the ASI Children’s Center will listen to author/artist Ben Newman read from his new book, Recycled Insects, and see some of his “upcycled” art pieces that depict wacky-looking insects; 10 and 10:45 a.m.
  • Greeks’ recycling competition: Fourteen Sac State sororities and fraternities, with a total of 400 members, will see which organization collected the largest number of plastic, glass, and aluminum drink containers; 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (top sorority and fraternity to be announced at 2:50 p.m.).
  • Lunch at the food trucks: The event will feature four vendors – Buckhorn Grill, Chando’s Tacos, Culinerdy Cruzer, and Local Kine Shave Ice – offering local and sustainable menu options; 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • Petting Zoo band: The Grass Valley-based band will create “dumpster funk” music with drumsticks, dustpans, and baseball bats; 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Cooking demonstration: 3 p.m. at The WELL.

In addition, representatives of Sac State’s University Transportation and Parking Services (UTAPS) will be on hand with a Hornet Shuttle to talk about the innovative campus food-composting program that fuels the University’s shuttle buses. SMUD and the Air Resources Board will display electric vehicles.

Sac State Sustainability will collect a variety of items for recycling: electronic waste, light bulbs, medication, and batteries.

And, at 10 a.m. Friday, April 22 – the official Earth Day – Michael Baad will lead an hourlong tour of the University Arboretum, the 3-acre botanical garden that features trees, shrubs, and herbaceous perennials from around the world. Baad is a professor emeritus of Biological Sciences and arboretum director.

For more information on Sac State Sustainability and its programs: – Dixie Reid

In the media:

"Sac State Earth Day," Channel 31's "Good Day Sacramento"