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Earthstock 2018 to Combine Traditions and Innovations


Earthstock, Stony Brook’s annual celebration of Earth Day, kicks off Monday, April 16,  featuring a winning combination of hallowed traditions and fresh programming.

Duck Race
The Duck Race is an annual Earthstock highlight.

More than a week’s worth of educational and social events will culminate in the Earthstock Festival, to be held on the Academic Mall between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm on Friday, April 20. As always, a highlight of the festival is the Duck Race, to be held at 2:00 pm in “The Brook,” adjacent to the Administration building. Ducks can be purchased for $2 at the Student Activities Center, Room 222, Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Prizes are awarded for the first and last duck. A complete schedule of is 2018 events is available on the Earthstock website.

Earthstock is a joyous celebration, but it’s not all fun and games. Recent legislation in Suffolk County, the “bring your own bag law,” which requires consumers to pay a nickel per plastic bag in an effort to reduce plastic in the world’s oceans and landfills, has fired up Earthstock committee members such as junior Condrea Zhuang and senior Maria Grima. The friends, who are also members of the Undergraduate Student Government Sustainability Committee and Stony Brook University Environmental Club, consider plastic to be one of the most pressing global environmental issues.

“People feel trapped by how much plastic is used and how they can’t avoid it. It’s not just about how it affects random animals in the ocean but also how it has an impact on humans,” said Maria.

Earthstock committee
Condrea Zhuang, left, and Maria Grima attend an Earthstock committee meeting.

Sometimes, visual reminders have the most impact. To make a point, Condrea donned four and a half pounds of plastic garbage — the average amount each New Yorker is estimated to generate a month — and walked around campus during Earthstock 2017.

This year, she is focusing on zero-waste gardening through the use of egg cartons. Condrea, who has been collecting egg cartons for a year for this event, will teach her classmates how to turn them into compostable planters on April 18 at 8:00 pm in Room 302 of the Student Activities Center.

To reward fellow students for their devotion to the cause and spirit of Earthstock, committee members have established Challenge Days. From April 9 to 22, participants are invited to post a picture or video of themselves completing daily challenges. Their reward?  The opportunity to be honored as Earthstock Ambassador of the Day on Earthstock 2018 social media channels.

Each challenge earns participants one point, and bonus points can be earned for continuing the daily challenges throughout the two-week period. For the Challenge Days, students can follow @sbuenvironmentalclub on Instagram or join

The School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) is also strongly committed to Earthstock through educational programming and collaborative partnerships, particularly with student affairs and co-curricular programming.

“SoMAS stepped up so much last year and has carried through to this year with the number and types of exhibits they are providing,” said Jeff Barnett, interim associate dean of students and Earthstock chair since 2007. “The sophistication and quality of what they bring is experiential, elaborate and fun.”

That elaborate sophistication is exemplified by the 24-foot research vessel, The Privateer, which SOMAS will transport to campus and make available for Earthstock visitors to view.

Mark Lang
Mark Lang cavorts with the dancing sand shrimp.

“Our Facilities Manager Mark Wiggins was our former small boat captain and technician, and the hope is to demonstrate some of the sampling gear used from the vessel,” said Mark Lang, SoMAS senior systems engineer and Earthstock social media coordinator. “It won’t be available to climb on, but it should still be a fresh addition to our showcase.”

The new experiential angle SoMAS brings to Earthstock will be visible during the Sustainability Studies Alumni panel discussion at the Javits Center in Room 109 at 1:00 pm on April 18.

“This year the panel will include both local and remote participants who will be brought in via videoconference. Going virtual allows greater participation with alumni,” Lang said.

In keeping with the celebratory spirit of Earthstock’s culminating day on April 20, SoMAS may reprise a dancing lobster, which more resembles a sand shrimp, said Lang. “The lobster loves to dance to Peat Moss and the Fertilizers and pose for pictures with everyone. Rumor has it, if the lobster shows up it might bring a shark friend too,” Lang added.

The incoming dean of SoMAS, Paul Shepson, is this year’s keynote speaker. Shepson is the Jonathan Amy Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at Purdue University. He is also currently division director for Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences at the National Science Foundation. His lecture, which takes place at 7:30 pm at the Charles B. Wang Center on April 20, is titled “Embrace the Change!” (climate change and its challenges). Shepson assumes the duties of SoMAS dean on July 2.

Two compelling events are hosted by SoMAS faculty. Interim Dean of SoMAS Larry Swanson will give a lecture titled “Dredging Stony Brook Harbor,” to be held at the Setauket Neighborhood House potluck dinner at 6:00 pm on April 16 and Malcolm Bowman, Distinguished Service Professor of Oceanography at Stony Brook, will host “The Great Debate— is Climate Change to Blame for Forced Mass Human Migrations?,” which will take place at Harriman Hall Auditorium, 4:00 pm on April 19.

“There appears to be a vibrant mood on campus for action-oriented research and innovation for stewardship of the planet,” said Shepson.  I know that SoMAS is excited about its leadership in this area, and I am indeed thrilled to be able to lead SoMAS, work with colleagues across campus, and help Stony Brook make a difference.”

— Glenn Jochum



Monday, April 16

Wednesday, April 18

Thursday, April 19

  • The Great Debate: “Is Climate Change to Blame for Forced Mass Human Migrations?”, Harriman Hall Auditorium, 4:00 pm
  • Experience: Jam Poetree and Sustainable Dye Night Staller Steps, 7:00 pm
  • Lecture: “Space Junk — How the Debris Orbiting the Earth Affects Our Planet and Our Lives,” SAC, Sidney Gelber Auditorium, 7:30 pm

Friday, April 20

  • Earthstock Festival, Academic Mall
  • Farmers Market, 11:00 am
  • Environmental and Educational Displays and Exhibitors, 11:00 am
  • Live Music and Dance Performances on Two Stages, 11:30 am
  • Opening Remarks/Green Pledge Ceremony, 12:15 pm
  • Rubber Duck Races, 2:00 pm
  • Ice Cream Social, 2:30 pm
  • Drum Line and Color Guard Showcase, 3:00 pm
  • Environmental Student Research Exhibition, 6:30 pm
  • Keynote: Paul Shepson, “Embrace the Change,” Charles B. Wang Theater, 7:30 pm

Rain Location: SAC

Saturday, April 21

  • Celebration: Environmental Club’s Green Gala  SAC, Ballroom B, 8:00 pm

Tuesday, April 24

Food culture expert and author Eve Turow Paul discusses sustainable culinary practices.  Charles B. Wang Center, Lecture Hall 1, 5:00 pm


Friday Festival:

Paul Shepson Keynote:

Sustainability Studies Alumni Panel:

See also: Stony Brook Students Wield Science on Behalf of Sustainability

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