Gallaudet Sustainability Council to host first-ever Campus Beautification Day on October 13, 2017

October 10, 2017

Author: Phil Dignan

Expanding from last year's tree planting event with Casey Trees, which resulted in 30 trees planted by Gallaudet community members, the Gallaudet Sustainability Council will host its first-ever Campus Beautification Day on October 13, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Along with the Casey Trees planting, Gally Gardens will hold its fall garden preparation. The evening celebration will feature the documentary premiere of the CorpsTHAT 2017 summer tour by its founders Sachiko Flores, G-'14, and Emma Bixler.

The event starts at 9 a.m. with breakfast featuring coffee donated by Peregrine Espresso and homemade apple cinnamon doughnuts provided by Bon Appetit. President Roberta J. Cordano will provide opening remarks at around 10 a.m.

Following opening remarks, Casey Trees planting and Gally Gardens fall garden preparation will commence until 1:30 p.m. Following lunch, Gally Gardens will continue its preparation until 5 p.m. The evening's outdoor celebration featuring the documentary is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. on the Gallaudet Mall.

The council, a diverse group of students, faculty, and staff, collaborated with Facilities, Campus Design and Planning, University Communications, Campus Activities, and the President's Office in offering this event.

"Last year's tree planting event was a huge success," said David Good, Energy and Sustainability manager. "Last year, we had more than 40 volunteers come out to help us plant trees in a number of locations on campus. This year's Campus Beautification Day event is the evolution of last year's event."

Establishing a partnership with Gallaudet in 2014, Casey Trees, a D.C.-based, non-profit organization whose mission is to restore the District's tree canopy, first provided trees, along with planting assistance and tree care education, to the Gallaudet community in the fall of 2016-inclement weather cancelled the first scheduled event in 2015.

The tree planting comes at a critical time for Gallaudet's tree canopy. The campus has lost more than 15 trees over the last several years due to age, weather, and disease.

"These trees will help make make the Gallaudet campus a more vibrant and inviting place for the entire community, and help us do our part to be better stewards of the environment," said Good.

After the tree planting and lunch, Gally Gardens fall prep, located at Hanson Plaza, will continue. Preparation will involve a number of tasks such as harvesting produce, building planting structures, and tending the soil. A highlight of the garden preparation will be the planting of six pear trees.

Gally Gardens, a student-run initiative responsible for managing the garden and marketing grown produce, partners with Cultivate the City (CTC), a local organization that develops and manages urban gardens throughout D.C. With CTC's help, Gally Gardens aims to improve and expand food production on campus, and use the garden as an educational tool.

"Volunteers will see first-hand that a significant amount of healthy food can be grown in a small urban garden," said Good. "This can be a real eye opener for people who have never been exposed to urban agriculture."

Campus Beautification Day concludes with the documentary premiere of CorpsTHAT, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide support for the inclusion of deaf and hard of hearing participants in conservation corps and outdoor programs. Over the summer, Flores and Bixler toured the United States to document deaf people who work to preserve the country's natural places. Games and a raffle will begin at 6 p.m. The film will begin after sunset (approximately 7 p.m.).

Good hopes to see an increase in the number of participants from last year's tree planting, which brought out more than 40 members of the Gallaudet community.

"The more people who come out the better," said Good. "It would be a nice problem to have if more volunteers than expected showed up. Obviously, I hope the volunteers have fun, are engaged by the experience, and decide to get more involved in Gallaudet's sustainability initiatives."

To register for Campus Beautification Day or gain more information, visit http://www.gallaudet.edu/sustainability/announcements-and-events/campus-beautification-day.

To learn more about CorpsTHAT, visit https://corpsthat.org/.

Photo by Zhee Chatmon.