USD celebrates Earth Day 2009 with SDWF fundraiser

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota and the community of Vermillion celebrated Earth Day 2009 on April 22 with live music and locally grown food.

Sponsored by Students Enriching Resources for Vermillion Enhancement (SERVE), the Center for Academic Engagement and the Communication Studies Department, the event also featured a 5K run/walk and games for the whole family. Local musicians Evie Johnson, Jami Lynn Buttke, Ben Kramer and Mike Hilson entertained while more than 350 people were treated to locally grown meats, beans and corn, and desserts.

Money raised from the event, which totaled more than $700, was donated to the South Dakota Wildlife Federation. The SDWF promotes ethical hunting and wilderness conservation, and they are currently in the process of starting a grasslands conservation program. The donation will help fund their youth conservation summer camp.

"I always get excited about Earth Day because it is the only holiday that the entire world can celebrate," said Carrie Brooks, a USD student and one of the organizers of the event. "It's a holiday that does not discriminate for nationality, religion or individual interests.  It's a chance for the whole world to celebrate what we all have in common... an appreciation for our Mother Earth."

In addition to the celebration a few USD students spent the afternoon at the Vermillion Community Garden and Washington Street Arts Center cleaning the area and sprucing up the garden for summer.

For more information about Earth Day and activities such as recycling, conserving energy, growing food and carpooling, please visit: www.earthday.gov/.