By Payton Glunt
CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – Camden County College’s Phi Theta Kappa Alpha Nu Mu Chapter hosted an Earth Day celebration on campus April 23 to raise awareness of the importance of conservation and water health to CCC.

Alpha Nu Mu Chapter Vice President of Service Jessica Whalen demonstrates how to up-cycle water bottles into self-watering planters. By Payton Glunt, CCC Journalism Program

Students involved in the CCC chapter of the honor society gathered at the event to help one another make a difference.

Chapter Vice President of Service Jessica Whalen said her passion is spreading the word about environmental issues. “For years I have been drawn to earth conservation,” said Whalen, who is in her third and final year at CCC. “I have used it as a topic in many classes and wanted to bring it to other students as well.”

Whalen put together the event to spread the word about the importance of protecting the Earth. “We have an average of 12 years to make a real change before we face irreversible damage to our planet,” Whalen said to the students at the event.

She got students involved by showing them how to make up-cycled self-watering seedling planters out of empty water bottles. Up-cycling is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials or unwanted products into new materials to be reused.

By cutting two bottles in half and taking the top from one bottle and the two bottoms, people can make a self-watering planter. Whalen demonstrated by puncturing the bottom of one of the bottles and placing it into the other. Once they were placed inside each other, she fed a piece of string through the holes in the punctured bottle to recycle the water by pulling what has drained back into the plant. She then filled it with soil and added a few seeds, she chose kale, and then placed the top of the bottle over it to create a greenhouse effect. Students at the event could choose from many types of seeds, ranging from tomatoes to thyme.

After this activity, Meg Lemieur of The Water Ways Project gave a presentation on the effects of the natural gas fracking industry in the mid-Atlantic region. She presented an illustration she and co-creator Bri Barton drew to tell the story of the industry and the effects it has on the environment.

Lemieur gave each student who attended the event a role as a character from her illustration with a short biography to stage a debate on whether fracking should be allowed to expand. This gave students an opportunity to see both sides of the story and show the truth behind what fracking does to the environment and the people in the areas surrounding fracking sites.

Alexis Burns, 19, one of the students who attended the event, said, “I enjoyed it a lot. It was very informative. It taught me more about natural gases, which I never really knew much about before, and the effects they have on the environment. It really showed me how important it is to protect our planet.”

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