Unity College unleashes Earth Week energy

Immersive student programs offered in partnership with community groups, subject experts Highlight: Community grower’s event April 18 at McKay Farm & Research Station

The cardboard kayak race is an annual tradition

America’s Environmental College will celebrate Earth Week with music, lectures, hands-on activities, games, and community activities that emphasize the nurturing, sustainability-oriented spirit of the founding of Unity College in 1965 and the original Earth Day in 1970.

Headlining the week of events is a community discussion about sustainable agriculture with local growers, and a case study in the rehabilitation of an extremely rare species of bird as told by a Unity College alum who now works as a federal wildlife official.

“At Unity College, we don’t observe Earth Day. We live it. It’s not just a day or a week, it’s all the time, in everything we do,” said Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury. “We hope people come from all over to our beautiful campus to see the spirit of sustainability in action in our students as we become a national draw.”

“Meet the Growers: Growing Together For You,” will take place 4:30 to 6 p.m., Monday, April 18, at McKay Farm and Research Station, 54 Greenhouse Lane, Thorndike. The event will showcase what’s growing in the community greenhouse at McKay Farm & Research Station and highlight relationships local growers and organizations have forged through the facility.

Growers will answer questions about seedling cultivation and business practices, and farmers will explain how McKay seedlings have helped them establish roots in their Fresh Start Farm.

“McKay Farm gives students the opportunity to practice sustainable agriculture within a real, full-scale working farm, not a test farm,” Khoury said. “The farm-to-table movement is important to Maine and the world, and this is a bird’s eye view of how it works in the real world.”

Khoury said it’s rare in the world of higher education for institutions to make their physical assets available to farmers.

“This facility came to us as a generous donation from a supporter in the community, and we’re using it not only as a living educational lab for our students, but also as an economic driver in the region,” Khoury said. “We are giving farmers a centralized location to showcase their work to the community. Places like McKay Farm is where local food comes from.”

The event kicks off Earth Week and also marks the first day of plant and seedling sales at McKay. All friends and fans of sustainable agriculture are invited. Light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP to Kate Gilbert at

Here’s the lineup of activities for Unity College Earth Week, April 16-23.

Monday, April 11, 2016