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Earth and Wellness Celebration coming up Friday

A preview of Western Carolina University’s new Electron Garden on the Green and presentations focusing on environmental advocacy and the Cherokees’ relationship with rivers top the agenda for WCU’s Earth and Wellness Celebration.

The annual campus celebration, which coincides with the observance of Earth Day this Friday, April 22, will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a “sneak peek reveal” at the site of the Electron Garden on the Green, which is still under construction. A project of WCU’s Sustainable Energy Initiative, the “EGG” is believed to be the first combination solar power generating facility and hammock “hanging lounge” on any college campus in the nation.

Construction continues on the concrete footers for the Electron Garden on the Green.

Construction continues on the concrete footers for the Electron Garden on the Green.

Concrete footers are now being created that will provide a support base for the EGG’s 40 solar panels that will convert sunlight into electricity. It is being constructed in green space across Memorial Drive from Walker Residence Hall, near Cullowhee Creek, and also will have hanging space for about 10 hammocks, Internet and USB ports, and electrical outlets.

The EGG preview will include remarks from WCU Provost Alison Morrison-Shetlar and students who have been involved in the EGG’s design and financing through a student fee.

Beginning at 11 a.m., a walking tour will be offered from the EGG site that will feature a second project of WCU’s Sustainable Energy Initiative – the Nature-Based Sculpture Project. That project has brought a team of artists to campus to help create a site-specific art experience inspired by the Great Smoky Mountains – a sculpture made of reclaimed wood that will be created adjacent to the university’s multi-use trail. The artist team will be in residence on campus through Saturday, May 21.

The Earth and Wellness Celebration also will take place on the lawn of A.K. Hinds University Center, where games, give-a-ways and educational activities will be going on from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The first of two presentations will begin at 11 a.m. as Susan Bean, community engagement manager for the regional conservation organization MountainTrue, speaks on “Environmental Activism and Advocacy in Western North Carolina” in the Raleigh Room at Hinds University Center. Bean’s talk will be followed at 12:20 p.m. in the Raleigh Room by a presentation on “Cherokees and Rivers” by Barbara Duncan, education director for the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee.

Other activities included in the Earth and Wellness Celebration are a drum circle on the University Center lawn from noon to 1:30 p.m.; musical entertainment featuring the Lognoggins on the Central Plaza from 1 to 2 p.m.; and a walking tour of WCU public art that starts from the Alumni Tower at 2 p.m.

The celebration is sponsored by WCU’s Office of Sustainability and Energy Management, and Campus Recreation and Wellness.

For more information about the Earth and Wellness Celebration, contact Lauren Bishop, director of the Office of Sustainability and Energy Management, at 828-227-3562 or


Note: Organizers of WCU’s Earth and Wellness Celebration have released this revised schedule with venue changes due to inclement weather.

10:30 a.m.: Inaugural Sustainable Energy Initiative: A Sneak-Peak Reveal (University Center Raleigh Room)

11 a.m. – noon: Walking tour: WCU hiking trail and Nature-Based Sculpture Project (Meet at University Center Memorial Drive entrance)

11 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Games, free giveaways, educational activities, vendors, community and student organizations. (University Center Atrium)

11 a.m.: “MountainTrue: Environmental Activism and Advocacy in WNC” with Susan Beam, Community Engagement Manager, MountainTrue (University Center Raleigh Room)

Noon: Rally for Dr. Belcher! (Catafount)

12:20 p.m.: “Cherokees and Rivers” with Barbara R. Duncan, Education Director at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian (University Center Raleigh Room)

2 – 3 p.m.: Walking tour of WCU public art (Alumni Tower)


By Randall Holcombe

Categories | The Reporter

Photos | WCU News Services

Commencement 2017
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