UMass Amherst Virtual Earth Day 2020

"The coronavirus pandemic does not shut us down. Instead, it reminds us of what’s at stake in our fight for the planet." - Earth Day Network. Earth Day is going digital on April 22nd, 2020 with 24 hours of action. Visit the Earth Day Network's website to learn more about is happening GLOBALLY!

What we're doing at UMass Amherst:

This year we're not able to hold our annual Earth Day Festival, but we will still be celebrating virtually with webinars and offline activities at home. These submissions are from some of the same students and local organizations that usually table with us at our annual festival! Follow us on Instagram @umass_sustain and on our Facebook page. Send your photos to Rebecca Schmidt at to get featured on our social media pages, or use the hashtags #UMassEarthWeek, #UMassEarthArt, #UMassEarthWeekBingo and #UMassNatureHunt !

Check back daily for updates to this page! 

Winners of the Undergraduate Sustainability Research Awards

The Undergraduate Sustainability Research Award promotes in-depth understanding of sustainability topics, research strategies, and the use of library resources, providing participating students with vital skills they will carry into future academic and vocational endeavors. The award is funded by the award-winning UMass Amherst Libraries’ Sustainability Fund.

Winners of the Sustainability, Innovation and Engagement Fund (SIEF)

Established in August 2013, the fund fosters a strong culture of sustainability on our campus by providing financial support to students, faculty, and staff with green ideas.

Here is an overview of the nine winning projects totaling $29,047.08 in funding:

  • Digging the Past – The UMass Renaissance Center will redesign and expand the existing Renaissance kitchen garden and orchard to develop and unveil a series of international research collaborations, undergraduate and graduate courses, integrative learning workshops, conferences, keynotes, and public-facing arts programming oriented around the central theme: The Renaissance of the Earth where scholars will be challenged to consider how early modern habits of thought and practice might aid in imagining alternative forms of sustainability and cultivation of the earth.
  • Creative Women Leading Climate Action (CWLCA) - CWLCA will organize a one-day Symposium and a public event that provides access, support, and opportunity for UMass Amherst students by facilitating the opportunity for students and alumnae to connect with professionals, faculty, and staff in their field. The Symposium focuses on engaging women (e.g. transgender, cisgender, gender non-conforming) in building a network towards the shared goal of creative climate action. 
  • A Pilot-Scale Biodigester: Engineering Campus Sustainability Via Anaerobic Processes – Students and faculty from the iCons Program will construct a pilot-scale biodigester to generate useful experimental data, rationalized via mathematical models, that support a proposal for the implementation of a large-scale bioreactor on campus. The technology will improve campus sustainability by continuously recycling organic waste into useful fertilizer and biofuel. The pilot-scale biodigester will also represent an educational opportunity for UMass students — it will leverage academic groups from the iCons program to research teams across departments in the College of Natural Sciences, College of Engineering, and Stockbridge School of Agriculture that may require larger-scale bioreactors with which to conduct experiments on.
  • Woodland Pork Production – Students and faculty at the Agricultural Learning Center will expand the animal husbandry program to include sustainable pork production.  The program aims to raise 5 pigs in a secured woodlot at the ALC.  Undergraduate students will take part in the vast majority of the work required to raise the animals under the guided mentorship of Stockbridge School of Agriculture's animal husbandry instructor over a 5-6 month period.
  • Project Leafcare – A student business that was created for making zero waste sustainable soap bars that help replace shampoo and body wash bars and reduce single use plastic packaging. All bars are small batch handmade and body bars contain upcycled coffee grounds or tea leaves.  The student entrepreneur will engage student peers in helping them make their own products through campus workshops.
  • CompostCorps & Greening Your Meetings - A UMass faculty member and librarian have teamed up to create and facilitate education and behavior change around campus and in offices/centers that can carry over to practices in residence halls, dining halls and other offices.  They will provide infrastructure and students to provide composting assistance at campus events ultimately producing sustainable behavioral and financial benefits, while directly and indirectly educating the campus community about the importance and responsibility of daily waste management and the necessity to build life-giving soil (“the food of our food”).  
  • ReGreening UMass – The UMass/Waugh Arboretum Committee teamed up with UMass Facilities & Campus Services and UMass Landscape Management to create a sustainable, long-term tree replacement program for the University. Within this goal, the specific objectives are to (1) purchase trees to plant in the existing UMass Landscape Management Nursery and (2) transplant trees from the nursery to locations throughout the campus as needed, resulting in a sustainable campus landscape that will sequester and store atmospheric carbon dioxide, reduce air and water pollution, reduce erosion, reduce building energy needs, and provide the many other benefits that community trees provide.
  • Environmental Community Outreach Club – The UMass Environmental Community Outreach club, a student-founded volunteering based team with a focus on sustainability and fellowship, will hold 6 volunteer events with the purpose of providing civic engagement to build and enhance community wellness in the Pioneer Valley. Student volunteers will connect with local organizations like Kestrel Land trust, the Trustees of Reservation, Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, the Hitchcock Center, Not Bread Alone, Woodbanks, etc.
  • The UMass Sustainability Makerspace Program: Developing a Computer Repair New2U Program – Students and faculty from the UMass All Campus Makerspace are working to establish a student-driven computer recycling effort on campus in an effort to keep computers, and ultimately other electronics, out of landfills. Examples of surplus might be functioning personal laptops and computers, tablets, or computer peripherals.

Offline activities


Sustainable UMass Virtual Earth Day Cook Book

Whip up a tasty recipe this week with one of these delicious submissions from members and friends of the UMass Amherst community! Cookbook compiled by Rebecca Schmidt from Physical Plant Sustainability. Tag your creations on social media to get featured on our Instagram page! We miss the blender bike smoothies!!

Do-It-Yourself Reusable T-Shirt Bags 

Make yourself a reusable bag upcycled from an old t-shirt! Submitted by Laurie Simmons from Residential Life Sustainability.

2-Minute Old T-Shirt Facemask Tutorial

Upcycle an old t-shirt into a face mask. Submitted by Katy Moonan and team members at ArteSana.

City Nature Challenge 2020

Apr. 24-27: Make Observations
Apr. 28-May 3: Help ID Observations
May 4: Results Announced

  • Submitted by Lauren Weiss on behalf of Melanie Radik and the UMass Amherst Libraries
  • Description: Cities around the world will be collaborating to make the most observations of nature, find the most species, and engage the most people in the 2020 City Nature Challenge than ever before! By making wildlife observations, you are contributing data to scientists and your community, which helps people study and protect local species. Cities that participated in previous years documented species in their areas they didn't know they had, and got thousands of participants to get outside and take a closer look at the nature all around us.

    Observations made in the following counties during the City Nature Challenge will count toward totals for the Pioneer Valley area: Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden, MA. In order for observations to count toward the challenge, participants must do the following:

    1. Find Wildlife

    Find and photograph any WILD plant, animal, or fungus in your backyard, campus, sidewalk cracks, mountain paths, river banks - anywhere in the Pioneer Valley. Please avoid landscaped areas planted by people, pets, zoos, etc.

    2. Take a Picture of What You See

    Be sure to note where you were when you took the picture. Remember, only observations in the three counties will count!

    3. Share Your Observations

    Upload your findings through the free iNaturalist app, on your phone, or online.

    4. Help ID Observations

    Identify the species of observations collected during the first phase of the challenge online at iNaturalist. Try to stick to the ones from the Pioneer Valley!

Sew an Apron with Yulia

  • Submitted by: Yulia Suvorova, UMass Student/former New2U Intern and Eco-Rep Facilitator 
  • Description: With all the coooking we are doing these days, sew your own apron! You can upcycle fabric from clothes you don't wear anymore.
  • Sign up here for a personal zoom session to get extra help from Yulia: 

Compost Happens 

  • Submitted by: Brian Premo ( UMass Green Office Program alumn) and Molly Craft (2019 UMass Amherst alumni)
  • Description: The Center for EcoTechnology (CET) and will be presenting a webinar on home composting. This webinar will include helpful tips and tools on how to start and maintain a home backyard composting, as well as how to start composting in your business. There will also be alternatives for indoor home composting, what curbside pickup composting is, and an overview on vermicomposting. This webinar was submitted in solidarity with the Earth Day Network's campaigns Foodprints for the Future and The Great Global Cleanup.The Center for EcoTechnology (CET) is an environmental non-profit serving the Pioneer Valley, located in Northampton, MA. We help people, businesses, and institutions save energy and reduce waste. The presenters for the webinar will be Molly Craft and Brian Premo. Both presenters are graduates from the UMass Amherst, Brian studied Environmental Science and Geology and Molly studied Environmental Conservation.

Online activities


Pre-Recorded Webinars:

UMass Amherst Carbon Mitigation Plan 2020

  • Submitted by: Ezra Small, Campus Sustainability Manager on behalf of Greener U and Physical Plant Sustainability 
  • Description: Wondering what we're trying to do on campus with our energy system to address the global challenge of climate change? This video provides an overview of UMass Amherst Carbon Mitigation Planning process. For questions, email 

Save the Bees, Save the Environment

  • Submitted by: Lucnalie Jironvil (Biology '20 and UMass Minute Rider Compost Route)
  • Description: A short video workshop encouraging humans to stop using pesticides that kill bees because they are very important for pollination, especially our fruit crops. You can find Lucnalie on Instagram @Lucnalie or email at 

Readings with Paperbark Magazine

  • Submitted by: Jarrel De Matas from Paperbark
  • Description: Watch readings from paperbark magazine featuring your favorite editors!


Scheduled Webinars:

Sunrise Wmass Earth Week Teach-Ins Sign Up

Tuesday, April 21st from 4:00-5:30, Wednesday, April 22nd (4:00-5:30) and Thursday, April 23rd (4:00-5:30)

  • Submitted by Emmalie Dropkin from XR Western MA on behalf of Western Mass Sunrise Coalition

  • Description: Join the Sunrise Western Mass Coalition for Earth Week online teach-ins. Tuesday, April 21st: Discussing the pandemic and why we are demanding the Green New Deal. Wednesday, April 22nd: Expanding the vision of a Green New Deal. Thursday, April 23rd: Taking Action/People’s Bailout. These teach-ins will be full of guest speakers, small and large discussions and fun creative activities. Join one, two or three! Sign up here.

Virtual Earth Day Celebration for 100% Renewable Energy 

Wed, April 22 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM EDT

  • Submitted by: Emmalie Dropkin from XR Western MA
  • Description: While we all work to collectively weather this difficult time, the issue of climate change and the problem posed by our reliance on dirty energy will continue to threaten our future. We can envision a future where 100% of our energy comes from clean, renewable sources like the sun and the wind. We can get there if enough of us stand together. Come to our event and join the movement for 100% renewable energy. You’ll hear from inspiring speakers and learn how you can make your voice heard. Speakers: Senator Joanne Comerford, Representative Natalie Blais, Representative Lindsay Sabadosa, Representative Daniel Carey, Sy'air Bey; Environmental Justice Organizer; Springfield Climate Justice Coalition & Arise for Social Justice,  Sarah Reyes; Sunrise Western Mass​, Kaitlyn Mitchell; 100% Renewable Energy Campus Coordinator; MASSPIRG Students, Peter Schneider; Clean Energy Organizer; Environment Massachusetts. Learn more about the 100% Renewable Energy Act here:

Carbon Drawdown Now! Building to Combat the Climate Crisis

April 22nd, 5:00 - 6:30pm EDT online

  • Submitted by: Sara Draper from the R.W. Kern Center 
  • Description: Come together and celebrate Earth Day from home with an interactive webinar presented by the R.W. Kern Center and NESEA! Join us to talk embodied carbon, systems thinking, and climate justice with Ace McArleton and Jacob Deva Racusin of New Frameworks Design & Build, a worker-owned natural building cooperative located in Burlington, Vermont. This webinar is for anyone interested in how buildings can become part of positive climate action. Jacob and Ace are experts at making complex content accessible to everyone, and we hope to see folks of all kinds participating from home: high school and college students, parents and their children, climate activists (and their roommates!). We've created a pre-and-post event learning guide for those who may be using this event as part of a class or home learning experience. This topic may be of particular professional interest to designers, builders, policymakers, and others who have great power to help make better buildings for the climate. Everyone will log off with a concrete action they can take to reduce embodied carbon emissions in their buildings and lives. Register now for this free webinar, or head to the RWKC website for more details on this event and embodied carbon in the built environment.

Earth Day Live

Wed, April 22nd - 24th (all day livestream)

  • Submitted by: Emmalie Dropkin from XR Western MA
  • Description: Earth Day Live will feature a three-day livestream where millions of people can join activists, celebrities, musicians, and more in an epic moment of community and hope for the future. The Youth Climate Strike Coalition and many of their partners are hosting a series of events next week: The 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, is a day to demonstrate our collective power and unity through community building, storytelling, healing and togetherness, with an emphasis on the stories and voices of frontline communities, Indigenous leaders, and leaders of color. On Thursday, April 23, Earth Day Live will tell financial institutions across the U.S. to divest from fossil fuels in collaboration with the Stop the Money Pipeline Coalition. And on Friday April 24, we will focus on the urgency of political change through a nationwide youth voter registration day through a digital voter registration challenge.​​

100% Solution Messaging Workshops

April 23rd @ 4pm EST

  • Submitted by Kaley from Sunrise WMass on behalf of Former MA State Rep Solomon Goldstein-Rose
  • Description: Former MA State Rep Solomon Goldstein-Rose is holding a climate change messaging workshop via Zoom. With his legislative background, Solomon wants to offer effective advocacy tactics for activists and ideas for ways we can continue our work while we are stuck at home. The workshop will focus on messaging techniques he learned from his time as state rep, with the context of climate change activism during the pandemic era. After a discussion, attendees should leave feeling motivated and empowered. The workshop is happening this Thursday at 4pm EST. Each individual can use this link to register:

Fridays for the Future School Strike

April 24th, 24 hours on YouTube!

  • Submitted by: Emmalie Dropkin from XR Western MA
  • Description: On the 24th of April, Fridays For Future will be holding a 24 hour livestream featuring countries from all around the world, starting East in Australia and the Pacific Islands, and ending West in the Americas. This will be a day of global unity, where Fridays For Future groups in as many different countries as possible will get to share their experiences, how the climate crisis has impacted their communities and what they want to see change.


Watch Parties

IMMUTO (change) with Q&A dialogue in live chat with the producers after both screenings

April 21st, 2pm & 6pm (EDT) two chances to watch!

  • Submitted by: Janis Steele, PHD and Brooks McCutchen, PHD from the Island Reach Foundation
  • Description: Featuring footage from the UMass campus! While we all deal with the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic, the fight to protect our planet's biocultural diversity from collapse remains incredibly vital.  Immuto is an unscripted, expeditionary video-for-impact, offered as a force multiplier for people acting locally and thinking globallyIMMUTO (change) features activists from indigenous and local communities around the world pressing for recognition and reciprocity across distance and difference. Each person you'll meet is giving voice to the gravity of their crises and demonstrating local leadership and actions as they adapt to our climate emergency, conserve territories, fight for justice, and demand a carbon drawdown. They come forward as agents of change prevailing upon our minds and hearts in the words of one, “to find a way to walk side by side so that together we can benefit the whole world.” We’re looking forward to this live time with you to strategize about big questions, to hear about Immuto’s relevance to your goals and activities to gather your feedback and referrals. If you can please take a look at the video's Viewing Guide prior to watching the video. It all takes place at the Island Reach Foundation website.


UMass System Earth Week Activities:

UMass System Family Scavenger Hunt

On Monday April 20th, explore your yard or your home. Download the card here. When you find an item listed on the card, post a picture of it on social media with the hash tag: #UMassNatureHunt

Earth Week Bingo

See how many activities you can complete on the Earth Week Bingo card!

Earth Week 2020 Webinars

Tuesday, April 21

12 Noon
Don’t Trash It
Got questions about home recycling or composting? Join this interactive lunch and learn. You’ll be surprised what you can do with all that stuff.Any UMass community member is encouraged to join, please join here:
Host University: UMass Medical School & UMass Lowell

Wednesday, April 22

9 a.m.
Earth Day Symposium
Join Steve Curwood, host of Living on Earth, for his opening remarks at this virtual symposium. Register here:
Host: UMass Boston

7:30 p.m.
Virtual Happy Hour and Lecture
Raise a glass and your climate consciousness. Join this discussion on climate change and public policy led by UML Emeritus Professor and Senior Research Fellow John Wooding. It features a talk by Dr. Amber Fletcher, the UML 2020 Greeley Scholar for Peace Studies.  Any UMass community member is encouraged to join: 
Host: UMass Lowell

Thursday, April 23

12 noon
Electric Vehicles
Roll up to this virtual lunch and learn with all your questions about what it’s like to own and drive an electric vehicle. Several UMass EV drivers will share their experiences and answer all of your questions. Please join us here:
Host: UMass Dartmouth

Friday, April 24

12:30 p.m.
Climate and Public Health

A one-hour interactive webinar led by students across the UMass system will explore the interconnectedness of climate change and public health. Share your ideas. Ask your questions. Please join at:
Host: UMass Medical School and UMass Lowell


Email to get your virtual earth day art, poetry, webinars and activites added to this page!