Earth Day Texas
Last week, amidst a flurry of final papers and the chaos of the end of the semester, Kaylee Weil, my classmate and fellow Admissions assistant, and I called a timeout and took off to Dallas for the weekend. Along with Kristin Floyd from the Development and Alumni Office, we got to represent the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies at Earth Day Texas, which is being held at Fair Park, home to the Texas State Fair. Even though the Ferris wheel wasn’t running, it was nevertheless a great weekend.
Earth Day Texas, formerly Earth Day Dallas, is a growing annual event. Although only a few years old, it is already one of the largest Earth Day celebrations in the country. The free event spanned 500,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, boasting roughly 600 exhibitors and hosting approximately 60,000 guests. Exhibitors were leaders and entrepreneurs in green technology, corporate social responsibility, land conservation and more. We were proud to be invited to represent the school as a leader in the field of environmental education.
The visitors to the event were a diverse mix, ranging from dedicated environmentalists to curious families out for an excursion. Kaylee, Kristin and I were able to speak with a number of prospective students who were interested in the four master’s programs, the PhD track, and even a few enterprising high school and college students with their eye to the future. I was pretty blown away by the range of experiences and interests of the students we spoke to. One high school student was there presenting the app he had developed to scan the barcode of products to determine its recyclability. Amazing! We were also able to visit with an accepted student to the F&ES class of 2016, who was there representing the EPA. It’s always great to see FES’ers in their natural environment!
In addition to the students, we also spoke with a number of professionals and experts in their fields at our booth. We learned about chemical-free pest treatments, small scale oyster production, and green promotional material (I think our bamboo-and-recycled-plastic pens caught their attention). We were also able to wander around to visit some of the other booths. I was especially excited to visit with the representatives from the Land Trust Alliance and the Texas Land Conservancy, whose work with ranchers and private land owners is directly related to my studies. Kaylee literally jumped out of her seat with excitement when a fellow from Protect Our Winters wandered past – she had the opportunity to work with that organization this past year as part of her project with Team Climate to raise climate change awareness at the Winter Olympics. In addition to our professional interests, we were excited to see the colorful range of visitors and exhibitors, and were especially excited to get a photo with this floral figure.
The majority of the folks we spoke with, though, were visitors to the event who were not necessarily familiar with Yale F&ES. We got to talk about the school’s history and mission, and to tell them about all of the amazing things our classmates are working on. It was great to be able to raise awareness for the school, recruit a few more Texans, and especially to support such a well-organized and fun event! Plus we managed to fit in some amazing barbeque and a night of two-stepping. All told, a great weekend!