April 5, 2013
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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been diligently planning the “nourishment” of New Jersey and Delaware beaches. They will be meticulously replacing the sand and dunes that were washed away by Superstorm Sandy.
“We are feeding the beaches and the sand dune system. The beaches protect the dunes and the dunes protect the communities,” said Edward Voigt, Chief of Public and Legislative Affairs for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “Our goal is to get the beaches back 100 percent to the way they were before Sandy. We want future storms to pound our projects, not the communities protected by them.”
In the wake of the devastation wrought by Sandy — coastlines physically altered, neighborhoods destroyed, power outages lasting for weeks at a time — agencies like the U.S. Army Corps and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), state and local governments, and families just trying to pick up the pieces are all looking for ways to ensure that communities in the region are safe, sustainable and livable.
Since its inception in 2003, Temple University Ambler’s EarthFest has placed a spotlight on sustaining our communities, welcoming dozens of exhibitors and thousands of visitors each year for an outdoor, educational celebration of protecting and preserving the planet. The U.S. Army Corps and FEMA are just two of nearly 90 exhibits and activity stations that will be sharing new ideas and concepts with students, teachers, parents and the public at EarthFest 2013, which will be held on Friday, April 26, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“EarthFest has become an essential part of sharing what Temple Ambler does best — promoting environmental stewardship in our communities,” said Susan Spinella Sacks, EarthFest Coordinator and Assistant Director of the Center for Sustainable Communities, the event host. “We are able to bring a diverse group of students, educators, and exhibitors together each year to celebrate a common cause; then our student visitors do the real work. They are teaching their peers — and in many cases their parents — how they can ensure sustainable communities. EarthFest plants the seed; it’s the students that will make it grow.”
At EarthFest, FEMA will have activities for students young and old focused on identifying flood risk and making better decisions on how to reduce it.
“We want to expose kids to a lot of new ideas — living compatibly with our world and, specifically, building sustainable communities. For most EarthFest visitors, they have probably never met someone from FEMA before — we want them to know we are there to help and to make sure families affected by disasters are able to get back to a sense of normalcy as soon as possible,” said Mari Radford, Mitigation Planner for FEMA’s Region III. “Fellow FEMA mitigation planner Molly Kaput and myself are both graduates of Temple’s Community and Regional Planning master’s degree program. We know the kind of important work that is being done within the program and by the Center for Sustainable Communities. There is a lot of synergy between FEMA’s mission and the research being done at Temple — working with communities to ensure they are prepared for the next disaster, that they are able to survive the next flood.”
For the 10th year in a row, Temple Ambler’s key partner in presenting EarthFest is the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS). PHS’s Junior Flower Show — which includes educational exhibits, service learning projects, and competitive classes — is an integral part of the event. The theme for the 2013 Junior Flower Show is “Chew on This!”
“With so much emphasis on the American diet and sedentary lifestyle, ‘Chew on This!’ will encourage students to make healthy eating and active lifestyle choices,” said Junior Flower Show Coordinator Flossie Narducci. “Studies indicate that children are more likely to eat vegetables they have planted and harvested. Working in a garden also provides opportunities for increased physical activity.”
At EarthFest, exhibitors, ranging from non-profit watershed groups to for-profit businesses and more than a dozen school groups, will present their ideas, projects, and initiatives in new and intriguing ways. Temple departments and student organizations are also well represented at EarthFest, with participation from the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture, the Department of Community and Regional Planning, the Office of Sustainability, the University Recycling Department, Temple Athletics and more.
Exhibitors for 2013 include the Franklin Institute, the Insectarium, the National Park Service, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Elmwood Park Zoo, and dozens more.
While Wondergy teaches physics through skateboarding with “SkateScience,” the U.S. EPA will provide valuable information on water conservation, reducing pesticide use and “greenscaping” in addition to leading tours of a 35-foot long “Mobile Command Post.” At their exhibit, the Philadelphia Zoo will promote conserving energy to protect wildlife through their “UNLESS” Campaign.
“EarthFest is a great opportunity to talk to people who may be new to the Zoo and may not be aware of all of the conservation work we do around the world,” said Valerie Peckham, Philadelphia Zoo Conservation Program Manager. We hope that people will want to get involved and work to make a difference because they can affect change.”
It would be impossible to have EarthFest without dedicated support from numerous EarthFest sponsors and more than 100 volunteers — many of whom are from local communities and area businesses.
Event contributing sponsors for 2013 include Dow; the Air Quality Partnership - Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission; the Ellis A. Gimbel Trust; Janet and Lew Klein; New York Life; PECO Energy; the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association; the Township of Upper Dublin; and Waste Management.
“The world needs solutions for big challenges like energy, climate change, water, food, housing and health. There is a critical need to inspire the next generation to take up the call,” said Justin Land, Dow’s Northeast Public Affairs Manager. “EarthFest is a perfect opportunity to connect with more than 6,000 students who are eager to listen, learn and make a difference.”
Contact 267-468-8108 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about how you can become a part of EarthFest 2013.