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Several High Country Events Highlight the Importance of Earth Day

By Nathan Ham

Earth Day has been celebrated on April 22 each year since 1970 and has always been a celebration of what people are doing or can do to save the planet. Now, over a billion people worldwide recognize the day as a day of action to fight for a cleaner world and bring awareness to many of the issues that are facing people from all parts of the globe. First celebrated in the United States, Earth Day went global in 1990 with over 200 million people participating in 141 countries. Earth Day 2020 marked 50 years with global activations that aim to mobilize a billion people worldwide for transformative action for our planet.

Here in the High Country, there will be several events going on to bring awareness to the environment at a local level. Appalachian State is leading the way with numerous events that have been ongoing through the month of April and more coming this week and next week. From April 19-23, App Builds a Home will be working two shifts per day in the Peacock Parking Lot to build the interior walls for the home of Sheila Potter, who has been an Appalachian State employee since 2006 and will be the owner of the second home built by App Builds a Home, working in cooperation with Habitat for Humanity.

On April 20 at 7 p.m., people are invited to watch the film “Fishpeople” as part of the Spring Sustainability Film Series.

The following day, there will be a Natural Area Workday from 9 a.m. until noon and from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. to clean up and remove invasive species in natural areas around campus.

On April 22, there will be tree plantings happening from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on King Street sponsored by the university’s biology department. Earth Day will conclude with the Earth Day Community Expo from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. online. The expo will be highlighting the dozens of campus groups involved with sustainability at App State. More info can be found here.

The final Earth Day celebration event organized by Appalachian & the Community Together (ACT) in partnership with Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway will happen on Friday, April 23 from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. and will include picnic area cleaning, trash pick up, trimming branches and other trail maintenance.

From now through April 22, the public is invited to an exclusive pre-release showing of an award-winning documentary called Beyond Zero. After a life-changing epiphany, the CEO of a global public company embarks on a high-stakes quest to eliminate all negative environmental impacts by 2020. To succeed, they must overcome deep skepticism, abandon the status quo and ignite a new industrial revolution. Beyond Zero offers an inspirational roadmap for how businesses can reverse climate change. Beyond Zero is held in partnership with Appalachian’s Office of Sustainability and the Walker College of Business and its Sustainable Development Solutions Network. It is an Appalachian Energy Summit and Business for Good event.

Plus, there will be an exclusive conversation with a panel of App State faculty, documentary producers and corporate representatives on April 22 (Earth Day), at 3 p.m. via Zoom. 

You are invited to register for this unique opportunity.

  • Panel discussion will be held via Zoom at 3 p.m. Thursday, April 22.
  • Film access will be available now until the end of day on April 22. It runs 89 minutes, so you may consider watching it at 1 p.m. that day.

Please register here for both exclusive access to the documentary and the panel discussion.

Beech Mountain Parks and Recreation is holding a special landscaping with native plants event on Thursday at 1 p.m. Those interested in participating can meet at Buckeye Lake where there will be instructions on how landscaping with native plants can help you conserve water at home.

On Friday, April 23 at 10 a.m. there will be a guided wildflower hike. The cost is $3 per person, and anyone interested should meet at Buckeye Lake.

This weekend, the New River Conservancy is recognizing Earth Day with a team clean stream competition on the New River. On April 24, book a trip to hit the river with Zaloo’s Canoes and bring back a bag of trash. You could be the lucky winner of some Zaloo’s or New River Conservancy gear.