U club focuses on getting involved for the environment

The Environmental Studies Club started approximately 16 years ago.

by Yelena Kibasova

This weekend University students will head out to Wild River State Park to bond with nature.

Approximately 15 students who are part of the Environmental Studies Club, will go Friday to face cold and the possibility of rain.

Camping is just one of the many activities the Environmental Studies Club is involved in each year.

The University student club was set up through the College of Natural Resources nearly 16 years ago. The club has more than 30 members.

“(It’s) mostly College of Natural Resources students, but it’s open to anybody,” said Rob Fisk, the club president.

The club’s main purpose is “to get people involved in environmental issues,” Fisk said.

The group is apolitical and concentrates on getting students together to learn about and help the environment.

The club has meetings every other week to discuss upcoming events. They also schedule guest speakers, such as College of Natural Resources alumni, to speak on environmental topics.

Since there are no dues to join, the club has annual fundraisers. This year it will sell College of Natural Resources sweat shirts, since the college will soon merge with the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.

“We’re hoping we’ll sell a lot of sweat shirts and they’ll be kind of nostalgic,” Fisk said.

Last week, students joined for their annual Sarita Wetland cleaning.

“Everyone’s got their rubber boots on, so you can slop into the ground and pick up all sorts of interesting trash,” said Claire Catania, a fisheries, wildlife, and conservation biology junior. “We found random things; we found a kitten – a live kitten. We took him home and nursed him back to health and one of the club members adopted him.”

This week they’re packing their bags and tents.

“We’re going to do some seed collection stuff and kind of help out with the park out there,” Fisk said.

The purpose of seed collecting is to collect prairie plant seeds that the park can use for restoration planting.

“There’s a number of state parks across the state that have set management goals for restoring some of the land that was originally in prairie habitat,” said Bill Ganzlin, director of Student Affairs at the College of Natural Resources and past Environmental Studies Club adviser.

Throughout the year, members participate in events such as the Beautiful U Day, which is celebrated on Earth Day.

Last spring, the club received a grant from the Beautiful U Day Committee for a “green roof” project. The group had demonstrations of its benefits.

A green roof is “sustainable roofing through the use of natural materials and plants,” Ganzlin said. “(It’s) designed to increase efficiency, it acts as an insulation kind of technique, plus it slows down runoff from buildings into storm sewers.”

This year the club hopes to install a rain garden, Fisk said.

In past years, students have enjoyed snowshoeing, canoeing and river cleanup.

Students from other student organizations, such as the Women in Natural Resources and the Recreation Resource Management Club, will be joining them this weekend.

The clubs are working to join their memberships “because they have such common interests,” Ganzlin said.