Film, Girard cleanup among Earth Day events

Island President

From the silver screen to wooded trails, Mercyhurst University has plenty in store to celebrate Earth Week 2013. Events include the April 17 screening of the film The Island President and a trail clean-up event in Girard on April 22.

The Island President, scheduled for 7 p.m. in Zurn 114, is part of a national screening of the film sponsored by the Bard Center for Environmental Policy. It tells the story of the residents of the Republic of Maldives, also known as the Maldive Islands, whose people contribute to climate change the least and are affected by it the most. The low-lying islands are at risk from rising sea levels attributed to global warming – a three-foot rise in sea level would submerge the 1,200 islands and render them uninhabitable.

The republic’s president, Mohamed Nasheed, works to bring the plight of his people to the attention of global leaders and find a solution to his problem. A live streaming of a panel discussion will follow the screening, featuring director Jon Shenk; former UN Deputy Permanent Representative to the Maldives and co-founder of Thilmeeza Hussain; and executive director and co-founder of May Boeve. More information is available on the film’s website at  

On Earth Day, April 22, members of the Mercyhurst community will participate in a trail cleaning and repair project as part of the statewide Great PA Clean-Up initiative.

From 10 a.m. to noon, volunteers will help beautify trails at two locations in Girard: one along Elk Creek leading from the Girard Borough Park to Mercyhurst-owned property, and an established trail on the Erie County Historical Society property behind the Battles Museum’s Yellow House. PennDOT will donate bags and gloves for the cleanup, which is open to the public. Mercyhurst Service Learning will provide transportation from campus for students and employees looking to attend.

The project is a continuation of a partnership between the Mercyhurst Sustainability Office and West County communities on a recreational trail project that would help connect existing biking, hiking and walking trails and recreational centers, eventually offering safe and easy access to the lake. Thanks to a $16,900 grant from the Erie Community Foundation, the trail committee was able to fund public meetings and surveys to gauge interest in the trail project and is now moving forward with cleanup and beautification efforts.

For more information on Earth Week at Mercyhurst, contact Brittany Prischak, sustainability officer, at 814-824-3829.

PHOTO: From The Island President

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