Fun talks and festivals: Sending Earth Month out with a bang!

Earth Month Logo 2017

This April has been one of the most action packed Earth Months Knox has seen in awhile. Instead of devoting only one week to celebrating the planet, as has been done in the past, the sustainability oriented clubs and organizations on campus have filled up the entire month! Over the past few weeks we have seen educational speakers, hands on workshops, planting events, and more. Here are the highlights of the two key events from this Earth Month, the Equinox speaker and the Earth Day Festival itself! These two memorable events along with everything else throughout the month has truly made Earth Month 2017 one for the books!

Equinox Speaker: Chad Pregracke

On April 18th members of both the Knox and Galesburg community gathered together in the cozy and historic Alumni Room of Old Main to listen to Mr. Chad Pregracke, the founder of Living Lands and Waters. Right off the bat Mr. Pregracke had the audience hooked. His easy going humor and charismatic charm made his presentation not only fun to listen to, but inspiring as well. It was easy to see that Mr. Pregracke was an individual who truly loved his line of work. The presentation started with Chad telling the audience his story. He talked about growing up along the Mississippi River, spending many of his teenage years working as a commercial shell diver scouring the dark depths of the Mississippi feeling for shells along the river bottom with his bare hands. One thing he came to notice from his time along the river, was that there was garbage everywhere, and he knew from early on that something needed to be done about the trash in the mighty Mississippi. He shared many shocking pictures with the audience of the tremendous amount of garbage that had accumulated over the years. During the rest of his presentation Chad talked about the struggles that he faced in pursuing cleaning up the river, from finding funding and sponsors to the literal weight of the garbage he would encounter. There were many points where he wanted to give up, but didn’t. At one point he shared with the audience the famous Abraham Lincoln quote: “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” This quote seemed to fit Chad well, for in his case his “hustle” truly did pay off- with the non-for-profit river cleanup organization he started from the bottom up. Chad’s presentation was both inspiring and entertaining, and the audience left Old Main feeling like they could make a difference.  On top of a great visit with Mr. Pregracke, there is a strong possibility of Knox partaking in a future service project next spring with Living Lands & Waters to help clean the rivers in St. Louis! Stay tuned for details or contact the Office of Sustainability ( to get involved.


Earth Day Festival


The Earth Day Festival fell on Earth Day this year (April 22nd) and from 11am-4pm the Gizmo patio was alive! Live musical performances from the Prairie Fireflies, Professor Ben Farrer, and local band Tooms filled the area with exciting noise throughout the afternoon. While listening to the music in the background, attendees of the festival had plenty of fun activities to take part in. Here are some pictures of all Earth Day festivities throughout the day!



Student signing an Earth Month pledge. (Image courtesy of Hannah McCullough)

The first thing attendees were met with with the Earth Day Pledge banner. The banner read “I pledge to…” leaving it up to the individual to think of something they can pledge to do to help the planet.  It didn’t take long before the banner was filled with different environmental pledges ranging from trying to turning off the lights when not in the room to shopping and eating local!


Girl at the festival tries to make the biggest possible bubble she can! (Image courtesy of Hannah McCullough)

There were plenty of fun lawn games and the like lining the sidewalks at the festival. There were giant bubbles, kites, jump ropes, ladder golf and more for people to have fun in the sun!

The music performances brought the festival to life, bringing crowds from all around campus!


Two students deciding what herbs to plant at the Knox Farm’s table. (Image courtesy of Hannah McCullough)


Chemsity club keeping an eye on their solar ovens! (Image courtesy of Hannah McCullough)


Student getting ready to take off on the blender bike to make her smoothie! (Image courtesy of Hannah McCullough)

Bike Club had its traditional bike blender smoothies all throughout the festival! Not only were the smoothies tasty, but the idea that they were made without the use of any electricity was also eco-friendly to boot!


Festival attendees making wood burning art with magnifying glasses and the power of the sun! (Image courtesy of Hannah McCullough)


Co-president Alexis Steffen from Students for Sustainability distributing free popcorn and snow cones. (Image courtesy of Hannah McCullough)


Tina Hope helping demonstrate how to properly tie and cut an old t-shirt to make into a reusable bag. (Image courtesy of Hannah McCullough)

Tina Hope teaches how to make a reusable bag out of an old t-shirt! Both a creative and fun activity to reduce your footprint!

Face-painting proved a fun way to show off your Earth Day spirit all day long! Festival guests displayed various artworks of butterflies, trees, flowers and baby planet Earths


Blaze poses with Tina Hope at the Festival. (Image courtesy of Debbie Steinberg)

Blaze showed up at the Festival too! This is one fox who really cares about safeguarding our planet.


Local Farmers Market vendors came to support the Knox Earth Day Festival as well!



To close out the festival President Teresa Amott, Chef Jason Crouch, and Director of Sustainability Debbie Steinberg judged the efficiency of solar ovens made by the Chemistry club in the first Solar Oven Contest at Knox! The four ovens were awarded the awards of quickest cooker, most innovative oven design, most compact design, meltiest chips, and best in show! Let’s be honest though, everyone wins when it comes to free cookies!


Overall, this year’s Earth Month has been a fun, educational, and refreshing way to celebrate our planet. There’s no better way to make a difference than partaking in small sustainable practices on a day to day basis, this Earth Month reminded everyone that being sustainable can be fun at the same time!



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