Earth Day festivities planned for April 20 on University Park campus

April 16, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- On Friday, April 20, the Penn State Center for Sustainability (CfS) will hold a day of free activities at the University's nine-acre Sustainability Experience Center, as part of Penn State’s Earth Week celebration.

The day’s activities include bird walks, and tours of the all-solar Morningstar home, the 70-foot Wind for Schools turbine, community garden plots, and the Ecological Systems Lab -- all located of off Porter Road, next to Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Free onsite parking is available for the day, which culminates in a one-hour memorial ceremony to honor Kenyan social and environmental activist Wangari Maathai, who died in September 2011.

Maathai, founder of the Kenya-based Green Belt Movement, is internationally renowned as a lifelong advocate for environmental restoration, women’s rights, peace and democracy. The recipient of a 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, her work centered on the planting of trees, but extended out to many inter-related aspects of society.

“Recognizing that sustainable development, democracy and peace are indivisible is an idea whose time has come,” Maathai said.

To honor Maathai’s memory and legacy, the Center for Sustainability will plant five apple trees in her name. The memorial will include music, dance, poetry, personal reflections of Maathai’s colleague Ephraim Govere, and the initiation of a new annual award for Penn State students who exemplify the values that she embodied in her life’s work.

“All of us at Penn State’s Center for Sustainability are honored to make help make this lasting connection to the life and work of Professor Maathai,” said Lisa Brown, associate director of the CfS. “Her courage inspired countless people when she was alive, and her impact will only grow over the years, like her beloved trees.”

On Friday, April 20 at Penn State’s Sustainability Experience Center:

-- From 9-10 a.m.: Bird Walk Tours of Sustainability Experience Center (SEC)

-- Noon to 3 p.m.: Gardens & Tech Tours of SEC

-- From 4-5 p.m. Wangari Maathai memorial ceremony

The Maathai Memorial is co-sponsored by the Center for Sustainability, the Departments of Women’s Studies, African Studies, African American and African Diaspora Studies, the Africana Research Center, the African Student Association, the CfS Community Gardens Club, and Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant.

For a complete schedule of Penn State’s Earth Week events, visit

Last Updated April 16, 2012