SEED prepares for Earth Day, other end-of-year events

Courtesy of SEED

Students Engaged in Eco Defense (SEED) club is the place where Lewis & Clark students can participate in activities and initiatives focused on environmentalism and beekeeping. From native plant conservation and restoration, leading other sustainability initiatives and running the year-round bee apiary on South Campus,  SEED offers a variety of activities and educational opportunities for environmentally-minded students.

Head beekeeper Emma Johnson ’26 and vice president of SEED Fenley Lopez ’27 highlighted some of their favorite parts of the club this year. 

Lopez was initially drawn to the club as a potential ENVS major and wanted to get involved with environmental action on campus. They were especially excited to rekindle SEED’s involvement with Tryon Life Community Farm. The club has hosted several field trips to the farm this year, recently including feeding their baby goats.

“(Tryon Life Community Farm is) set up within walking distance of 20 minutes, half an hour. They said that they used to have us living and working there while going to school here which I thought was so awesome. COVID kind of put a big damper on that, so I’m really excited about connecting with them and getting to see students more involved over there,” said Lopez.

For Johnson, beekeeping has been one of her favorite parts of SEED. As head beekeeper, she is responsible for bee management, as well as student training and events involving the bees. 

“It’s been a pretty good spring so far in terms of weather, so we’ve been able to do a lot of work with them … It’s been really fun to see them come out of winter dormancy and to share fun knowledge with people,” said Johnson. “It’s been super helpful to be able to train some of our summer beekeepers.”

With Earth Day right around the corner on Monday, April 22, SEED is preparing for events that will focus on environmental justice. 

“We’re partnering with another organization called Campus Climate Network and they had the original idea for the Earth Day event called Reclaim, shifting the focus on justice initiatives rather than traditional ones like recycling initiatives,” Johnson said. “So in line with that, we decided for our campus that we wanted to do more of an educational event, specifically Portland based.”

Johnson described SEED’s plan to host a panel of environmental professionals who will come to campus and share their expertise with students.

“We have seven community members coming in representing six organizations. All the (panelists) work in the environmental justice realm, and it will be set up where attendees can ask questions,” said Johnson. “We also will have questions for the panelists and they will all tell their stories. Hopefully this will create opportunities for students to get involved with them in volunteering or for job opportunities.”

Johnson noted that the size of the campus can inhibit outreach involvement in greater Portland.

“With campus being kind of small, kind of secluded, it can get difficult to get connected with the larger environmental justice/social activism work in Portland. So the goal for this is to bring in some experts, to hear about their story, learn about what they’re doing and then if students do want to get involved, then they’ll have context to do that,” said Johnson.

She described another event, which will be held on Earth Day. This event is future-oriented, and hopes to gather student perspectives to guide LC’s environmental priorities in years to come.

“We’re tabling throughout the day on Earth Day,” said Johnson. “We will have prizes and things for filling out a survey that we have set up talking about school sustainability practices.”

The survey will be used to develop sustainability measures that align with student needs and interests.

“Our school very much prioritizes sustainability and its management, but we want to know how much students actually know about that. How informed they feel, and also if they’re satisfied with the work that the school is doing and what potential directions they would like to see the school going. It’s sort of to gauge student awareness, desires for the future, which I think will be cool information that we intend to pass along to the school,” said Johnson.

In addition to its upcoming Earth Day events, SEED has some exciting opportunities planned for the end of the year. 

“We have some upcoming beekeeping opportunities, we also have a stepping stone mosaic building workshop. And then the following weekend, April 21, we’re having our springtime garden party out on the South Campus bee garden. We’re going to make pizza with our wood-fired oven and just really celebrate the work we’ve done in the garden area,” said Johnson. 

Looking forward, SEED hopes to expand its current sustainability resources that are available to students. Right now, the club maintains the Genco detergent sheet station located in Fowler outside of Fields Dining Hall, and they are planning on creating more useful stations like this to campus. 

“We’re working on bringing TerraCycle, which are compost bins that are going to be in Roberts, in the base that Maggie’s used to be,” said Johnson.

Additionally, the club intends to introduce a refill station with a variety of cleaning and hygiene products. 

“Also in Roberts, we’re looking at installing a Wonderfil, which will be kind of like the Genco machine that we have currently but you will have a lot of options for shampoo, maybe dish detergent. We’re not exactly sure what products we’ll have yet,” said Lopez.

With such a range of endeavors, SEED  works to combine outdoor engagement with opportunities to learn skills for environmental practices and activism to be used throughout life. 

To stay up to date with SEED meetings and events, follow their Instagram, @lcseed. 

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