CWU joins community to protect the Earth

BY Patience Collier

News Editor


Central’s Earth Day Family Festival, hosted by the Museum of Culture and Environment, will showcase the environmental efforts of groups around campus and throughout the community on April 19.

Bethany Oliver, public programs manager for the museum, said they are hoping to showcase local and global ideas about sustaining the environment to the community.

“Mostly, it’s a celebration of Earth Day, so we’re hoping people pick up a lot of large and small practices,” Oliver said.

Central’s Environmental Club has been heavily collaborating on the event, and are hoping to help bring attention and awareness to the way Central students and faculty treat their environment, according to Club President William Ligon-Bruno and Club Senator Eric Arroyo.

The club recently spent a full day cleaning up the irrigation canal that runs through campus, according to Ligon-Bruno, junior mechanical engineering major. They plan to display the amount of garbage they were able to clean up during their event at the festival, as a way to demonstrate the problems with the low environmental awareness in the student community.

“We try to have a big earth day event each year,” Arroyo, senior environmental studies major said. “This year, Bethany really took the reins. She’s done all the logistics, and we’ve kind of just piggybacked.”

A major part of the event, according to Oliver, was the participation of groups from the surrounding community, including the Yakama Nation Fisheries, Kittitas County Solid Waste and Pizza Colin.

“I’ve been working on reaching out to the community as much as possible,” Oliver said. “Right now, we’ve probably got about 30 groups coming, including the CWU clubs.”

Yakama Nation Fisheries has been helping with the Salmon Run, a 5k and 10k race during the festival, and may provide Salish language signs around the course of the race, according to Oliver.

“The museum has also teamed up with Yakama Fisheries,” Oliver said. “They’ll be showing information on what they’re working on, which is stocking the Cle Elum River with salmon.”

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Volunteer Center of Kittitas County (RSVP) will be hosting a drug takeback and a document shredding event. Both events are designed to help out people in the community as well as enable good environmental education in the process, according to Carol Findley, director of RSVP.

Findley said the drug takeback was open for anyone who wants to bring in any unused, old or unopened over the counter or prescription drugs for safe disposal.

“Our volunteers won’t be touching [the drugs], just the police officers will be doing that,” Findley said. “They take them and incinerate them.”

A major goal of the drug takeback is to keep prescription and expired drugs off the streets and out of the hands of kids, but Findley also said it is important that people are aware of safer disposal techniques, rather than just flushing their expired drugs into the water system. Many people are unaware, according to Findley, that police will take prescription or expired drugs for disposal at any time of the year.

“Twice a year you should really go through your medicine cabinet and get rid of the things you don’t need anymore,” Findley said. “You can take any of these medications or prescription drugs to the Ellensburg Police Department or the sheriff’s office, and they will take them.”