Spring Into Earth WeekApr 18, 2023
Bellevue College’s (BC) Office of Sustainability is holding a series of events through April 22 to celebrate Earth Week, an annual tradition that was launched in 2000 as a grassroots effort by faculty and students.
Bellevue College’s (BC) Office of Sustainability is holding a series of events through April 22 to celebrate Earth Week, an annual tradition that was launched in 2000 as a grassroots effort by faculty and students. Since then, it has grown to include the community beyond campus, which was the inspiration for this year’s theme: “Resilience in Action: Stronger Together.” The series focuses on the interconnectedness of people and the planet, to create a thriving community and just future.
This year’s Earth Week will be a hybrid format, with both in-person and virtual programming. Many events are open to the public and range from faculty and community speakers and film screenings, to an electric vehicle car show and hands-on workshops. There will also be two off-campus stewardship opportunities: a forest restoration at Robinswood Park, and a salmon habitat restoration at Lake Sammamish State Park.
“There are so many ways to take action,” BC sustainability director Sara Holzknecht said, adding that they wanted to bring activities beyond the usual tree planting, such as clothes mending and cartography, to get people thinking about the Earth and protecting the environment differently.
Attendees at all in-person events will receive a raffle ticket for the chance to win prizes, including a custom Earth Week travel mug, kombucha-making kit, boba tea-making kit, sourdough bread tool kit, glass water bottles, green cleaning kits, and goodie bags. Raffles will be drawn at the end of each in-person session.
Registration is required for virtual events and encouraged for in-person events to help organizers and presenters with planning—especially those where equipment or materials will be provided or space is limited.
For the whole list of BC Earth Week events and to register, click here.
BC Arboretum Opening
This year’s Earth Week will also include the opening of BC’s arboretum on Wednesday. Earlier this month, the arboretum received a Level I certification through ArbNet, the only international accreditation program specific to arboretums. The organization’s mission includes fostering the establishment and professionalism of arboretums and advancing the planting and conservation of trees.
This certification has been two years in the making and Elissa Gordon, program manager with the Office of Sustainability, said it’s great to be certified and be able to share this with the campus and community.
The application process included tagging and identifying at least 25 woody species and creating a master plan and public database of the collection. In addition, they also worked with a photography class on campus to photograph the plants in the arboretum.
Gordon said BC is special because there is already a diversity of trees and natural areas on campus. They used this to their advantage in creating the arboretum, finding areas with a variety of woody plants together that were also accessible.
Level I is the entry-level certification and Holzknecht said they look forward to growing the program.
“This is a work in progress,” she said. “We’d love to expand on this.”
At Wednesday’s Earth Week event, attendees will have the opportunity to meet with the Office of Sustainability to learn about the arboretum and then take self-guided tours of the arboretum’s four zones: the Woodland Boulevard, Shady Glen, Native Berry Patch and Urban Forest Loop. Members of the grounds team will also be onsite to answer any questions and provide more information.