On February 10th at 6:30pm, a very empowering and event packed weekend began – the 2017 Prairie Fire Bioneers Conference. While the term “Bioneers” may sound intriguing by itself, the name alone doesn’t explain what this conference truly encompasses. The Prairie Fire Bioneers Conference takes place once a year and is open to not just the campus, but anyone in the community. A large portion of the conference involves rebroadcasting nationally recognized plenary speakers from the national Bioneers conference on a large theater screen in CFA’s Kresge Recital Hall. These plenary speakers are social and scientific innovators who have practical and visionary solutions for the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges. In addition to showcasing these renowned speakers, Knox invites local presenters to discuss how these national issues relate to regional knowledge. This year, these topics ranged from bioremedial herbs in your backyard to panel discussions on renewable energy democracy. The conference had educational opportunities throughout the weekend, not to mention multiple chances to eat delicious local foods! Here are some of the many highlights of the 6th annual Prairie Fire Bioneers Conference.
Just around the corner is a holiday both loved and hated, Valentine’s Day. What is now seen to many as another “Hallmark Holiday” which entails the buying of bouquets, chocolates, and giant teddy bears was once something quite different. The origins of Valentine’s Day are rather interesting, “Saint Valentine” himself is quite the mysterious fellow. The most popular story says that he was a martyred priest who performed secret marriages for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. As the story goes, he was imprisoned and fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. Supposedly he wrote her a letter, before his execution, in which he signed “Your Valentine”. Other stories are not as romantic. The pagan folklore of the holiday talk about a yearly festival which started with the sacrifice of a goat and a dog. The hides of which were then dipped in blood and used to slap women to “bring fertility”. Most folklore, however, depicts Valentine’s Day as a time to share tokens of affection with friends and loved ones, typically heartfelt handwritten notes. Valentine’s Day has changed (like many holidays) into a holiday where people are expected to buy material gifts, but it doesn’t have to be! If we support the older traditions, the ones that don’t involve sacrificing goats and dogs, we can celebrate Valentine’s Day with our loved ones while also giving a little love back to the planet with these low impact (and low cost!) alternatives:
Image courtesy of google images.
When it comes to sustainability initiatives and opportunities on campus, the Prairie Fire community is not too shabby! We have an entire month dedicated to celebrating the Earth, the Knox Farm gives ample opportunities for students to help things grow, we have two LEED certified buildings, a bike share program, a solid investment in renewable energy, an entire shop dedicated to keeping things out of the landfill, and the list could go on! Sustainability goes further than this however, Knox has many sustainable clubs that are worth checking out too!