Ozarks celebrates Earth Day

Release Date: 4/20/2006

Essay contest and campus presentations emphasize importance of nature

CLARKSVILLE, ARK. (April 20, 2006) -- The Ozarks community showed a renewed interest in Earth Day, with a campuswide celebration that focused on protecting nature.

Ozarks student Nathan Brown, a junior biology major, won the Ozarks Earth Day essay contest, taking home a $75 prize.

Ozarks English Professor Brian Hardman, who organized the essay contest, said Brown's essay stood out for its emphasis on individual action.

"The heart of his essay strived to raise awareness," said Hardman. "The little things we can do each day." He added that Brown cited specific examples, including recycling and limiting use of consumer goods.

Ozarks Biology Professor Doug Jeffries highlighted similar themes in his address as part of Earth Day chapel services, which also featured speakers from the Ozarks Planet Club and Ozarks Biological Society.

Students Diana Ayala and Cody Bennett were awarded second and third place, respectively, in the essay contest. A total of 22 essays were submitted for judging by a panel of Ozarks faculty.

Hardman and Jeffries worked along with Ozarks Sociology Professor Jesse Weiss to create an interdisciplinary program for Earth Day, which featured literature readings and screenings of several films dealing with nature and the environment.

Hardman, who has participated in several Earth Day events at other universities, said he hopes to continue the spirit of environmentalism year-round at Ozarks, through courses such as literature and the environment, in which students keep journals detailing their interaction with nature and the outdoors.

"It takes (the environment) out of a book and into students' lives," Hardman said. "It becomes something right in their own backyard."