Posted April 29, 2014

Temple Ambler EarthFest 2014 welcomes more than 7,000

Betsy Manning
More than 7,000 guests, including students from across the region, visited Temple University Ambler for EarthFest 2014.

More than 7,000 guests visited Temple University Ambler April 25 for EarthFest 2014.

“Our visitors and exhibitors fully embraced the day as an opportunity to learn about and share information that will be beneficial for this and future generations,” said Susan Spinella Sacks, Earthfest coordinator and assistant director of the Center for Sustainable Communities at Temple.

EarthFest is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year on Temple’s Ambler Campus. Students from across the region viewed 75 exhibits that supported EarthFest’s theme of “sustaining our communities” and this year’s special focus on water.

The Philadelphia Zoo, the Franklin Institute, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency were among the organizations that shared information.

The FEMA booth modeled flooding scenarios and the consequences of building development near water.

“Even the littlest kids could see the difference between a straight channel and a meandering stream and could predict which one would carry the water faster,” said Mari Radford, SED ’09, mitigation planner for FEMA’s Region III, which includes Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Delaware, West Virginia and Virginia. “Our hope is that when EarthFest participants head home, they look a little more closely at structures near the water and think about their flood risk.”

Participants also enjoyed getting a closeup view of Noah, a 13-year-old bald eagle. The Elmwood Park Zoo, which has the second-largest open-air eagle exhibit in the country, brought Noah along to illustrate how important it is to protect endangered species.

Area schools shared projects and research taking place in their classrooms. For example, Upper Dublin High School manned a remarkable total of 11 exhibits.

“We’ve incorporated EarthFest into our curriculum and created a project-based learning experience for some of our students,” said Upper Dublin High School environmental science teacher Judy Winship. “It’s been very successful—the students learn a lot about their chosen topics and enjoy teaching community members.”

In addition to the Center for Sustainable Communities, exhibitors included the Department of Community and Regional Planning, the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture, the Temple Planning Student Organization, the Landscape Architecture and Horticulture Student Association, the Society for Ecological Restoration and the Ambler Campus Sustainability Council. Numerous departments universitywide also participated in Earthfest 2014.