Friday, April 15, 2011

Hugging the Green Bear

After yesterday's Bear Hug for the Nature Reserve event, I was too tired to get my pictures uploaded and blog about it.  With a day in between, though -- even though I only got about four hours of sleep last night due to stormwatching -- I'm rested and ready to show you our great success!


We advertised with this student-created banner in front of the Student Center, and with a stack of fliers we posted and passed out at our petition drives, in addition to a very active Facebook event.


Students also wrapped campus trees in green and purple yarn, the symbol of our efforts and a teaser for the yarn we planned to use when surrounding the reserve.


Our logo right next to the Reserve entrance, ready for the event!


As participants began to gather, the press (in the person of Tammy Keith from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette) talks to Steve Runge, dean of the College of Natural Science and Mathematics, and his Honors College scholar daughter Monica. In the background you can see students signing our petition.


1:50 and we're off to surround the reserve! Folks hold onto green and purple yarn as they set off down Farris Road.


Other participants wait for their chance to grab on and join the line.


The huggers stretch all the way down Farris Road before heading into the heart of the Reserve about a quarter-mile away.


... And here they come back toward the entrance! About 250 people encircled the central 17.5 acres of the Reserve, consisting of one of the last remnants of the virgin prairie that once covered the whole river valley region, buffered by a mature hardwood forest.


Faculty and students together took part in the event, a powerful show of solidarity in the UCA community for a landscape that benefits so many.


On a beautiful day, the participants walked about a sixth of a mile around the reserve. As you can see, the line just kept coming as marchers approached the entrance where they began.


Flying the banner of the Green Bear Project, the students' overall effort to raise awareness, educate the community, and secure a commitment from the Board of Trustees to permanently protect this space from development.


It took us awhile, but we finally found the end of the line! And just in time for students and faculty to head back to class. As we reached the entrance to a round of applause and high fives, we celebrated a successful effort in turning out the community and demonstrating the value we all find in this unique landscape.

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