Karen Pratt, the senior office assistant for the division of natural areas, pulls weeds Wednesday in an effort to clean the Case Annex courtyard. (Amanda Wheeler)

By Laura Butler

Several students and staff members are working together to help Eastern continue to live up to its name, “The campus beautiful.” Members of campus will be combining forces to clean up the Case Annex courtyard as an Earth Day project associated with Earth Days in the Cumberlands 2008, a statewide program designed to beautify natural areas throughout Kentucky.The Student Activities Council, Division of Natural Areas, Facilities Services and Agricultural Department are all involved with the project and will each play important roles in making the project a success, said Lindsay Hill, student coordinator and assistant vice-president for SAC.

While efforts were made to begin a similar project last year, the plans didn’t quite pan out as expected.

“A landscaping student came up with some blueprints to redesign the courtyard area, but the plans were never really carried through,” Hill said, “so we decided to pick up where they left off and get the ball rolling again.”

Hill said each group will be playing a vital role as Facilities Services will provide shrubbery, tools and gloves; the Agricultural department will lend some of its students to help; and SAC will provide the food. The Division of Natural Areas is coordinating the entire event.

“I really think it shows how everyone is willing to work together to help beautify this campus,” Hill said.

The combined effort will also affect several groups on campus in particular.

“For awhile now, residents in Case Hall, students with classes in the Honors wing and those in the International department have not had the prettiest view from their windows,” Hill said. “We want to get rid of all the weeds and replant some nice shrubs, trees, and plants; just make it an attractive part of campus.”

The crew plans to plant over 14 different types of trees, plants and shrubs, most of which bear colorful fruit and flowers and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

The cleanup work began with a small team of workers doing some of the larger “overhaul” cleanup on Wednesday, March 26, but the main work day will be Monday, April 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Hill said the project will allow students to earn some community service hours and socialize with other eco-friendly students but, more importantly, it will allow students to take care of their “backyard.”

Hill also said she believes the project could serve as a foundation for annual Earth Day projects in the future.

“We’ve got about 30 people signed up to help out with the work day already, which is very promising,” Hill said. “It’s a bit of a small space, but starting small isn’t a bad thing, you can beautify any space and give back to nature.