Topics: Student Affairs, College of Sciences and Humanities, Speakers

April 11, 2008

Getting students of all ages to head outside and appreciate the wonders of nature is the theme of Ball State University's Earth Week 2008 festivities scheduled for April 21-25.

To celebrate "No Student Left Inside," organizers of this year's annual Earth Week will sponsor interactive outdoor games and activities, from rock climbing to geocaching and more.

Cheryl Charles, president of the Children & Nature Network (C&NN), will deliver the week's keynote address at 7:30 p.m. April 21 in Ball State's Art and Journalism Building (AJ), room 175. C&NN is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping communities organize outdoor education programs. Charles co-founded the program in 2006 with Richard Louv, journalist and author of "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder."

Charles also is national director of two prominent environmental education programs used in K-12 education, Project Learning Tree and Project WILD. She will speak about "The Ecology of Hope," or ways to encourage students of all ages to explore the world beyond their front doorstep.

A reception for Charles will begin at 7 p.m. April 21 in AJ 175 and copies of the newest edition of Louv's book will be available for purchase.

 Earth Week activities also will include:

  • April 22 - Earth Day on the Green, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., University Green east of Shafer Tower on McKinley Avenue. A variety of local businesses, organizations and government agencies will provide environmental education and activities, including a rock wall and geocaching. Ball State's Council on the Environment Awards Program begins at noon in the tent on the green.
  • April 24 - Tree planting with Muncie-Delaware County Clean and Beautiful, Heekin Park, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Lisa Nicklas, a Ball State student and president of the university's Natural Resources Club (NRC), said she hopes people can take away from Earth Week the idea that "it doesn't take much time or effort to go outside and enjoy it.

"There are many advantages to being outside: physical, mental and social. Researchers have found that students who spend even just a few minutes outside daily experience better health, increased ability to concentrate and increased creativity. In this day and age when many young people spend hours on the computer or in front of a television and obesity levels are at alarming rates, learning how to take time to be outside is a valuable asset."

The NRC also will assist in the April 22 presentation of an electric car to the university. The presentation will take place at 11 a.m. on University Green.

Ball State's Earth Week events, free and open to the public, are sponsored by Bracken Environmental Fund, Campus Activities Board, Natural Resources Club, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, Council on the Environment and the Ball State chapter of the Wildlife Society.
For more information about Earth Week activities, go to

By Gail Werner, News Center/Update Editor