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Published: Saturday, 4/17/2004

For some, Earth Day is colored by politics

BY ELIZABETH A. SHACK
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Earth Day is Thursday, but environmental celebrations, some taking a decidedly left-wing political turn, are being held throughout the week.

The University of Toledo's Society of Environmental Education will encourage students to write postcards to the presidential candidates and is hosting a panel discussion on the candidates' views.

The group's adviser, Linda Smith, said the environment has been less of a priority for people since September, 2001.

"People are not paying attention to some of the environmental issues that are quite critical," she said.

The society will have information on the candidates' positions at tables outside UT's Student Union from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.

The panel discussion, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday in the law center auditorium, will be moderated by Dr. Benjamin Pryor, a UT assistant professor of philosophy and co-director of the Law and Social Thought Program.

On the panel are expected to be Marnie Urso, the Ohio State director of the League of Conservation Voters; Terry Lodge, a Toledo environment and human rights lawyer and activist; Mitch Balonek, co-chairman of the Northwest Ohio Green Party, and Mark Squillace, a UT environmental law professor.

"We decided we didn't want apologists for the candidates," Dr. Smith said.

A co-president of the society, Amalia Collins, said the group wants to raise awareness about politics in general and how "terrible" President Bush has been.

The society's arts evening is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Law Center auditorium, with 15-minute musicals about two invasive species, the zebra mussel and the round goby, music, and readings of the winning entries in the society's EarthFest Environmental Poetry Contest.

Other events in the area include:

●The Toledo Section of the American Chemical Society and the UT Department of Chemistry's tour of the Lake Erie Research Center near Maumee Bay State Park at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, followed by talks on water quality issues in the area. RSVP for the free event to edith.klingberg@utoledo.edu.

●The annual Aluminum Cans for Burned Children of Northwest Ohio collection, benefitting children in the burn unit at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in the Toledo Zoo parking lot off the Anthony Wayne Trail entrance.

●A Toledo Museum of Art program during which children can use recyclable materials to make art from 11 a.m. to 4:30 pm. tomorrow and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday in the Family Center.

●The Toledo Zoo's celebration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday with about 20 area organizations, including the Karner Blue Butterfly Conservation Project, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, and Toledo's environmental services department. The zoo also is kicking off its cell phone recycling program. People who drop off an old phone at the visitor services lobby will get a coupon for a free children's admission with a paid adult admission.

●Volunteer efforts to help with park restoration and cleanup at Wildwood Preserve Metropark from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. Call 419-535-3057 Ext.103 for reservations.

Contact Elizabeth A. Shack at:

eshack@theblade.com

or 419-724-6050.



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