Earth Day to be Celebrated (Two Days Later) with “Earth Ball”-Making Demonstration

By Tom McLaughlin

In celebration of Earth Day – held nationally two days earlier – Rutgers University–Camden students and volunteers will demonstrate how to make “earth balls” – composed of a mixture of mud and/or clay with the seeds of indigenous plants – as part of the citywide Camden Colorfield Project.

Anyone is welcome to attend the free, public event, to be held at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, on the steps outside the Campus Center.

Elizabeth Demaray, a professor of art at Rutgers–Camden, says that the long-term goal is to make the earth ball-making session an annual rite of spring at Rutgers–Camden in support of Earth Day.

“We hope to make making earth balls just as much a part of Earth Day as making Easter eggs for Easter,” says Demaray, who helped coordinate the event.

Following last year’s success, says the Rutgers–Camden professor, this year’s earth balls will be dyed in a variety of vibrant colors, with each set corresponding to the hues of the wildflower seeds contained inside.

The earth balls will then be distributed across Camden as part of the ambitious Colorfield Project – with specific wildflower hues allocated for particular lateral zones across the city – for residents to plant in their front and backyards, community gardens, and tree pits to support local pollinator species.

For instance, explains Demaray, white wildflowers will be planted in North Camden, followed by pink wildflowers, and red wildflowers symbolically running through Rutgers–Camden and the surrounding neighborhoods. The color zones will then continue with orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple wildflowers.

Rutgers–Camden students working under the tutelage of Amy Savage, an assistant professor of biology, will then study the plantings over the summer to determine if the effort is in fact supporting local insect populations.

Demaray adds that the earth ball demonstration will show just how “fun and easy” it is to make these simple yet effective resources benefiting the environment.

“Kids and grownups can make them,” says Demaray, “and you can plant an earth ball just about anywhere that you think it would be nice to have indigenous plants.”

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

Posted in: Campus Life

Comments are closed.