Earth Day to be Celebrated (Two Days Early) with Seed Ball-Making Demo

By Tom McLaughlin

In celebration of Earth Day – held nationally two days later on April 22 – Rutgers University–Camden students in the art and urban sustainability class and LEAP Academy University Charter School students will demonstrate how to make seed balls – composed of a mixture of mud and/or clay with the seeds of indigenous plants.

The seed ball-making demonstration is one of many planned throughout the country in celebration of Earth Day this year

Anyone is welcome to attend the free, public event, to be held at 12:30 p.m. Friday, April 20, on the steps outside the Campus Center, located on Third Street, between Cooper Street and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge on the Rutgers–Camden campus.

“These seeds will enable the growth of native plants that can support and be supported by local pollinator species,” explains Elizabeth Demaray, a professor of art at Rutgers–Camden, who helped coordinate the event.

Demaray adds that the demonstration will show just how easy it is to make these simple yet effective resources benefiting the environment.

“If you have a seed ball, you can plant it just about anywhere that you think it would be nice to have indigenous plants,” she says. “Perhaps there is a vacant spot near your house.”

The Rutgers–Camden professor says that the long-term goal is to make the seed ball-making session – one of many planned throughout the country this year – an annual rite of spring at Rutgers–Camden in support of Earth Day.

Demaray says that the long-term goal is to make the seed ball-making session an annual rite of spring at Rutgers–Camden in support of Earth Day

She notes that the students in the art and urban sustainability class are also planning to do a seed gathering workshop so that locally gathered seeds can be used to make seed balls for Earth Day next year.

Under the tutelage of visiting instructor Mary Mattingly, students in the class have been exploring public art, community art, environmental art, and issues of sustainability as they relate to the city of Camden.

The students also author proposals for projects that merge art and sustainable practices within the city and collaborate on one civically engaged and sustainable project. This semester, they are helping to revamp a vacant lot in North Camden into a community garden space.

For more information, contact Demaray at demaray@nullcamden.rutgers.edu or (856) 225-2893.

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