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Newton Daffodil Festival targets sustainability
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Want to learn about how to leave a healthier environment for your children and grandchildren - and enjoy good family fun at the same time? Visit Georgia Perimeter College Newton Campus March 21 and 22 for the 2012 Daffodil Festival: Building a Greener GPC. This year's festival will focus on sustainability. All events are free and open to the public.

Now in its fifth year at GPC Newton Campus in Covington, the two-day festival offers an exciting variety of culture, dance, music and walking events at the 100-acre campus. This year, the program begins 10 a.m., Wednesday, March 21 with a symposium on the book "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind," by William Kamkwamba.

The Daffodil Trail Walk, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., will follow a nature trail on campus near a lake on the 100-acre site of Georgia Perimeter College Newton Campus. The college is inviting walkers to join students, faculty and staff in a healthy, half-mile trek in the woods.

"Sustainability is very important to the college now," said English professor Deborah Manson, chair of the Daffodil Festival committee. "And during these two days we'll showcase how our students are learning to be responsible citizens -not just recycling but discovering a variety of ways to consume our natural resources in ways that don't destroy what's around us."

Georgia Perimeter's push for a better environment includes the opening of the new Southeastern Institute for Sustainability at GPC. Also, the college has teamed up with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 to become the nation's flagship community college institution to develop an environmental sustainability education program for the federal agency. The Institute is located on Clarkston Campus.

Besides integrating sustainability principles across GPC's curriculum, campus operations, and student activities, the institute will be heavily involved in community outreach. It will work with community organizations, government agencies and schools to promote environmental sustainability and sustainable development.
This year's Daffodil Festival will celebrate this new initiative in the Newton County area.

GPC Newton Campus will unveil its Community Learning Garden where faculty, staff and students will grow plants and food to serve the curriculum interests in the natural world while serving the interests of Newton County at large.

The Daffodil Festival, which combines academics and the environment, is the perfect program in which to explore sustainability, said Joanne Chu, executive director of the Southeastern Institute for Sustainability.

"Some people think sustainability is just about recycling or about science. It is so much more than that. Sustainability is a worldview that considers the needs of our future generations while we also consider our needs," Chu said. "The Humanities are the academic disciplines that allow us to explore our human condition - our humanity. It is through the humanities that we learn about ourselves, our passions and our potential as a society."

The Spring 2012 Daffodil Festival is sponsored by the Newton Student Government Association, the Daffodil Festival Committee and the Newton Arts and Humanities Advisory Council.