Celebrating Earth Day with films, hands-on experiences and more


Willem Flaugher / Advance-Titan — Photovoltaic solar panels, which resemble flower petals on stalks, convert the sun’s energy into electricity for the 191,000 square-foot Sage Hall.

Alexis Schaefer, Staff Writer

The UW Oshkosh Sustainability Institute for Regional Transformations (SIRT) will host a series of events this month that celebrate sustainability through education and taking action against climate change.  

The events go through April 28, spanning across both Earth Day on April 22 and Arbor Day on April 28.

Programs will address sustainability through several disciplines and include a wide variety of events including film screenings, hands-on experiences, presentations and focused conversations.

From 2-3:30 p.m.Wednesday Misty McPhee of the environmental studies program will present “Gay Penguins and Genderqueer Fungi: Nonbinariness Beyond the Human” in Sage 3224. At this event, participants will learn about the range of gender and sexual expression present in organisms besides humans.  

Also on Wednesday, there will be a screening of “The Chocolate War” in Sage 1214 from 5-7 p.m.,, followed by conversation led by McPhee. This documentary exposes the injustices of the cocoa industry, which relies on child slavery to produce the product.  

To celebrate Earth Day on Saturday, volunteers can sign up to contribute to sustainability on the UWO campus with hands-on activities. From 9 am to noon, participants can either help in the Community Garden, plant/mulch on campus, or take a nature walk and pick up trash littering the campus.

Willem Flaugher / Advance-Titan — Bee hotels on the UW Oshkosh campus provide nesting spots for native bees.

Those who are interested should sign up online at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfb8TFUrYChDQU5OHJ98qzd4EKdgR0BCfW4kA2DRjh2C22Vew/viewform.  

Also on Earth Day, there will be Free School, an event that seeks to make education accessible for everyone.  Open to the public, Free School includes classes and activities for all ages, including meeting a great horned owl, crafts and other nature-related learning opportunities. 

The schedule for Free School can be found at  https://sites.google.com/uwosh.edu/uw-oshkosh-free-school/class-schedule?authuser=0

The next day, there will be a screening of “True Cost” in Sage 1214 from 5-7:30 p.m., followed by conversation. This film examines the fast fashion industry, which rapidly produces and throws away clothing, and the impact this has on our world.  

Other events include:

Tuesday, April 25

  • 9:40-11:10 a.m. in Sage 1216.  Presentation/conversation titled “Re-establishing Connections: Utilizing Indigenous Culture for Addressing the Climate Crisis,” led by Dawn Moneyhan.  This discussion will focus on reconnecting individuals with the Earth and acknowledging the abundance of natural resources the Earth gives to us, providing a strong emotional and spiritual basis for addressing climate change. 
  • 1:30-2:30 p.m. in Sage 2224. The first graduates of the Sustainability Certificates program will give presentations and students can  learn more about the five  certificates offered by the program.  

Wednesday, April 26

  • Get your bikes tuned at Reeve Memorial Union. Minor tune ups and repairs are free, and additional work will be referred to Winnebago Bicycle. 

Thursday, April 27 

  • 5-8 p.m. in Sage 1210 and online. Keynote speaker Ken Leinbach will share his presentation, “It’s Kinda Fun to do the Impossible: Finding Abundance in Urban Communities.” Leinbach will discuss  founding the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee, which uses environmental education to inspire urban revitalization.

Friday, April 28

  • 10:30 a.m. behind Oviatt House. Finally, on Arbor Day, there will be a brief tree planting ceremony. This will be the 14th year of the Oshkosh campus planting trees as a member of Tree Campus Higher Education.