JJC plans multiple celebrations for Earth Day

By Catherine Lobash

This month celebrates Earth day and, now more than ever, it is imperative to look at the world around us and find ways to help take care of our beautiful earth.

Multiple events are being hosted by JJC to share the celebration with students and community memebers.

The SMHEC sustainability committee will be creating a digital Sustainable Food Cookbook.

For all interested submit a recipe to: https://southmetroed.org/events/sustainable-food-challenge/

The zoom event will occur April 16 at 1 p.m.

From 8 a.m. – noon on April 18 the JJC Science Department is teaming with the Forest Perserve District of Will County and looking for volunteers to help restore indigenous species in the praire.

Social distancing rules will apply and masks are required.
Slots are limited to 25 people. For those interested, RSVP at emurdoch@jjc.edu.

April 20 at 10 a.m. horticulture professor Lisa Perkins will be giving a tour of the plants and trees growing in the Arboretum.

There are only 25 slot available, so anyone wishing to attend should email her at lperkins@jjc.edu.

April 24 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Phi Theta Kappa will be volunteering to clean the stretch of road on Weber Road from Larkin Avenue to Renwick Road.

Gloves, bags and vests will be provided but organizers reccomend bringing bottled water and snacks.

For those interested, meet at the parking lot near Fire Water BBQ, 1847 Knapp St., Crest Hill, IL 60403. ks.

April 27 from 1 – 2p.m. horiculture professor Fredric Miller will be giving tours of the greenhouse lab and the types of plants the horiculture departmenr grows.

April 30 visit the Arbortoreum for a free seed giveaway!
There are only 25 slot available, so anyone wishing to attend should email her at fmiller@jjc.edu.

Social distancing guidlines apply and masks must be worn for both events.
JJC has been taking many steps to help with sustainability on campus. Back in February it was announced that solar panels were finished being installed. These panels provide the whole main campus with clean renewable energy. As well as major economic savings, it is anticipated these panels will save over a million dollars in about twenty-five years.

Professor Andrew Neill spoke about some of the sustainability practices that the Natural Sciences and Physical Education [NSPE] department are implementing.

“The NSPE department continues to provide oversight and advise on the sustainable management and restoration of JJC’s Natural Areas and Outdoor Teaching Laboratory,” Neill said.

These areas also help clean and filter water for the city of Joliet.

“Joliet is in desperate need of a sustainable water supply,” Neill said.
The Natural Areas on campus has a total of 124 acres as well as a self-guided tour booklet to allow students and community members explore and learn about the natural history on the natural trails.

“Just this month, the department approved an official restoration plan for the Outdoor Teaching Laboratory. The plan details the continued management and restoration of the Natural Areas following the best practices advocated by the Society for Ecological Restoration,” Neill said

He also mentions that the 124 acres on the JJC property are not wasted space, they serve a variety of purposes for our community.

According to Neill, the 124 acres that make up the Natural Areas “store approx. 1.2 million pounds of carbon in the form of perennial root biomass and standing vegetation especially century old trees.”

Neill has also announced a special event the NSPE Department co-sponsors.

The event happens every April and October for two days where JJC students and community members come and help clean up the Natural Areas from invasive plants.

“This labor-intensive activity opens up habitat for the reintroduction of native plants and animals.  It is very satisfying to see how much land can be quickly cleared by a motivated group of people,” Neill said.

Even though many of us are not visiting campus very often, take some time this month and visit the beautiful Natural Areas behind the main campus.

Explore the beautiful plant life and discover the many kinds of animals that live in these Natural Areas.

Make sure to check jjc.edu/campus-life/sustainability for a full list of events happening onn campus and virtuallly this month.