May 5, 2003
Volume 81, Number 18
CENEAR 81 18 p. 62
ISSN 0009-2347


ACS Celebrates Earth Day

AALOK MEHTA

ACS members held a full slate of programs illustrating the influence of chemistry on the environment as a part of the society's "Chemists Celebrate Earth Day" program.

This year's theme was "ChemisTREE," and many local sections planted saplings as part of their programs. At ACS headquarters, members of the Office of Community Activities (OCA) and the Green Chemistry Institute (GCI) joined staff on Earth Day--April 22--in a brief ceremony commemorating ACS's newest addition, a young emerald green arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) that was planted outside the Othmer building.

"Green chemistry highlights the positive contributions that chemistry makes to society and emphasizes the role of chemistry in achieving sustainability," said Mary Kirchhoff, assistant director of GCI, at the ceremony.

Also speaking at the Earth Day event were David A. Daniel, chief operating officer of society programs; Dennis Hjeresen, GCI director; David Harwell, manager of OCA; and Denise L. Creech, assistant director of member programs.

The Earth Day activities had a national as well as an international scope. The Richland Section planted 10 trees in a Richland park on April 16, and the Texarkana College Chemistry Club planted a dogwood in the Texarkana College Wetland Environmental Study Area on April 21. The Puerto Rico Section also planted a tree, and many more local sections volunteered in museums or held outreach programs to educate local students about the role of chemistry in preserving the environment. And in Spain, Escola Sant Gervasi in Mollet del Valläs had a full-day program complete with art exhibitions, seminars, and a planting.

OCA and GCI got in on the action as well, holding a set of hands-on demonstrations at the Capital Children's Museum in Washington, D.C., on April 21. Their activities included art made from "Magic Nuudles," a biodegradable cornstarch-based packing material; secret messages decoded with acid/base chemistry; and experiments showing the effect of acid rain on marble statues.

TREE TIME Harwell (from left), Kirchhoff, Creech, Daniel, and Sharon Worthy with the newest member of the ACS family, an emerald green arborvitae.



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