Swem kicks off Earth Day celebrations

Swem Library kicked off Earth Day celebrations last week with its annual Earth Day Readers lunch, co-sponsored by the College’s committee on sustainability. This year’s selection, The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature by David George Haskell, is the 2012 winner of the Natural History Literature award from the National Outdoor Book Awards and was selected by Kirkus Reviews for their best of 2012 list.

Sixteen members of the campus community joined Swem Science Librarian Karen Berquist to discuss the award-winning book and talk with its author via Skype. Haskell’s book covers his in-depth study of a small area of a forest in Tennessee over the course of a year, explaining the web of biology and ecology.

During the Skype session, Haskell noted to the group that he still returns to the forest area to “check in” and visit an “old friend.”  Haskell summed up the style of his book by saying that he “takes insights of religious practices and puts them in an ecological context.”

In addition to the book talk, the Swem Sustainability Committee will be collecting plastic dairy tubs for a recycling project at a local elementary school during the entire month of April.

Although Earth Week comes but once a year, Swem is working to be green and sustainable year-round. Interlibrary Loan’s new scanner, funded last year by a Green Fees grant, is realizing its worth in just the first year. It has registered 40,000 scans in one year, saving approximately 60,000 sheets of paper. That equates to over seven trees! The library’s popular KIC (Knowledge Imaging Center) scanner is expected to yield similar savings.

Swem also has several other year-round initiatives to promote sustainability such as the library’s Book Swap Shelf, where patrons can exchange books, and the Kill Disk program, which provides CDs that patrons can check out that wipe a computer hard drive. Swem also acts as a recycling point for batteries, cell phones, ink cartridges and plastic bags.

For more information on sustainability topics, check out the Swem Sustainability Guide.

Earth Day Readers participants chat with author David George Haskell.