Students of Jamestown Community College had an opportunity to meet exotic creatures from around the world and learn how to care for the planet at the Jamestown campus' Earthfest.
In keeping with the college's commitment to sustainability, the annual event was held at the Hamilton Collegiate Center's student union on Wednesday. Many local vendors and organizations were available to provide information on their services, display their wares and educate students about Earth-friendly products and methods of sustainability.
The event was sponsored by JCC's Earth Awareness club, which receives its funding from the student senate and the college programming committee. According to Janis Bowman, assistant professor of biology and Earth Awareness club adviser, the purpose of Earthfest has shifted in its history of more than 20 years.
Jeff Musial, of Nickel City Reptiles and Exotics, displayed a number of animals and reptiles during JCC’s Earthfest on Wednesday. Musial has displayed his menagerie of exotic animals on TV shows such as Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and, most recently, Saturday Night Live.
P-J photos by Gavin Paterniti
"It used to be an Earthfest that would celebrate Earth Day back in the early '90s," Bowman said. "Really recently, the college has signed the Presidents' Climate Commitment, where we're trying to look at our carbon footprint. So we have a Sustainability Committee now here at the college, and really sustainability has become so important to us as an ethic. We try to have it permeate throughout the year."
Over the past few years, the college's commitment to sustainability can be seen throughout the campus, most notably in the recent construction of new Science Center-a building which harnesses solar power to provide its own electricity and features a waterwall that was dedicated in October. Through a partnership with Grow Jamestown, JCC also has its own community gardens by the Curtis Street tennis courts.
Vendors and organizations present at this year's Earthfest included the Jamestown Audubon Society, Jamestown Renaissance Corporation for Grow Jamestown, Roots & Wings Family Farm, Mike's Nursery Outlet, the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy and Mike Morton's petting zoo,
"Some of the vendors are old favorites that have been here for years and years, and we have some new ones here this year. It's really all-encompassing, we're trying to hit as many aspects as we can," said Bowman. "Part of what we're doing here is to promote local actions. and to link (students) up with the Audubon, the Robert Tory Peterson Institute and the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy so they know who they have here in the area as resources."
Nelson Garifi, director of marketing and communications, said approximately 30 students from Frewsburg Central School and a local home-school group were also in attendance.
The theme of this year's Earthfest was "Sustainable Water," which supports the International Year of Water Cooperation proclaimed by the United Nations. The event featured a show provided by Jeff Musial, of Nickel City Reptiles and Exotics, who brought along a menagerie of exotic creatures. Live music in the form of a solo acoustic set was provided by Jamie Haight.
JCC will continue its observation of Earth Week with a tree-planting ceremony Friday. The ceremony will take place behind the physical education complex at 12:15 p.m.