Environmental Science Association celebrates Earth Day with EcoPalooza
Southeast’s Environmental Science Association (ESA) hosted EcoPalooza in celebration of Earth Day at the Student Recreation Center on April 24.
Senior Anahi Gamboa is the president and co-founder of the Environmental Science Association. Gamboa started EcoPalooza last year and facilitated the event again this year.
“The goal of EcoPalooza is to have an educational event, but we also want it to be fun,” Gamboa said.
EcoPalooza boasted 13 organizations this year including the Missouri Department of Conservation and local agencies such as the Wildlife Society.
The organizations gave away free jade plants, spider plants, reusable bags, veggie burgers and recycled goods such as mugs and coasters made from tires. The horticulture students sold succulents and offered coupons to the greenhouse. There were handmade ceramics for sale, as well.
Guests at EcoPalooza had the opportunity to sign up for a plastic-free lifestyle pledge to get a reusable aluminum water bottle. There was a raffle to receive either a free eco-friendly bamboo toothbrush or reusable straw set.
“I saw the flyer and was interested in the free stuff,” freshman Audrey Baird said. “But events like these are super important because our Earth is dying.”
Darryenne Small said she came to EcoPalooza because Baird had sent her the flyer, but was committed to learning about how to promote a healthy Earth.
“Not only is the Earth dying, but it’s mainly our fault,” Small said. “So it’s our responsibility to do all we can to take care of our planet.”
The Nature Center donated free seeds for a multitude of Missouri plants and even brought a snake. The City of Cape Girardeau Public Works Department provided reusable bags and goods made out of recycled products such as pencils made from old newspapers.
Mike Tripp, the solid waste superintendent of Cape Girardeau, said events such as EcoPalooza are important so more people become conscious of what happens to their waste.
“People need to know what’s going on,” Tripp said. “A lot of people just throw something away and they never consider what happens next.”
There was a table sponsored by Ameren that consisted of information on clean energy, how when and where to grow trees, and internship opportunities within the company.
Sydney Wasson, a senior at Southeast and treasurer of the Wildlife Society, she displayed her personal collection of rocks and minerals and also offered to talk about the distinction between some pelts that were donated to the Wildlife Society by a conservation officer at EcoPalooza.
The horticulture students offered insights as to how their facility differs from the biology greenhouse on campus and what they offer to the community.
EcoPalooza was originally scheduled to take place on the Academic Terraces, where it was last year, but was moved to the Student Recreation Center due to the threat of rain.