Members of the Colby-Sawyer community, including children who attend the college’s lab school, Windy Hill, participated in two days of events to celebrate Earth Day 2023.

On Friday, April 21, 47 students, faculty and staff members volunteered for a service project on campus. Sustainability Coordinator Zoë Tice Adams, who organized the event, said the goal of the project was to lighten the load of the college’s Facilities staff, who each year face the Herculean task of preparing the campus for Commencement — something that can’t begin until the snow has melted and the winter weather has passed. With bright sun and a high temperature of 65, Earth Day provided the perfect opportunity for participants to make headway on the college’s spring clean-up.

“Volunteers worked with Facilities in various groups to perform activities such as raking, planting in garden beds, collecting dishes from dorms, and working with Professor Leon Malan on the permaculture garden,” Adams said.

Participants received a free Earth Day t-shirt designed by environmental science major Baley Tremblay ’25 and a “Sustainable Colby-Sawyer” Nalgene water bottle, in addition to lunch, which was provided by Parkhurst Dining and the college’s Senior Leadership Team. Feedback was positive, and Adams said that volunteers reported that they hope it becomes an annual tradition.

“Just being out there with everyone doing work together felt great,” said Director of Residential Education Dave Zamansky, who spent the day spreading mulch outside the Ware Student Center. “There was also a sense of pride in beautifying and taking care of our area. It was a fun day.”

Earth Day festivities continued Saturday, April 22, with an event sponsored by students in classes taught by child development professors Diane Edwards and Darcy Mitchell. Students partnered with the Climate and Health Initiative for Children of Kearsarge & Sunapee (CHICKS), a local nonprofit, and developed hands-on activities for children that were designed to raise awareness of the effects of climate change on children’s health.

Despite chilly weather, 80 people turned out for the event, the highlight of which was the planting of a tree by the Sustainable Classroom/Sunshack. The names of children who attended were entered in a random drawing, and three-year-old twins Avery and Rowan Wharton were chosen to assist Grounds Supervisor Greg Ardine with the planting. “I feel like it was a strong start to a long-lasting tradition on campus,” Adams said of the two-day celebration.