By Ellen Lomonico
The Water Action Research Team celebrated Earth Day by participating in not one but two Earth Day Fairs. The first was the Hospital Sustainability Fair, held on April 22nd. The Hospital Sustainability Fair was hosted by Teresa Hildebrand and the Hospital Action Research Team. It featured small educational booths promoting sustainable actions and pledges to go green (and free cookies!). We were happy to participate in the fair, as it gave us an opportunity to extend our artificial turf survey to those in a professional working environment instead of our general student audience. Our interaction with the public produced largely positive results. The majority of adults were extremely impressed with the samples of turf we provided, noting that artificial turf had improved greatly in both physical texture and visual appearance. It was great to hear from adults -- a few had artificial turf in their own backyards!
The following day, April 23rd, was UCLA’s Earth Day Fair, held on the Intramural Fields. The location proved to be a great talking point for our survey, as the IM Field is going to undergo a conversion to artificial turf! The projected completion date is Summer 2015. Once again, our interaction with the public was positive. We were pleasantly surprised with student preference for artificial turf in many areas of campus. However, questions continued to be raised about potential drawbacks of artificial turf, including heat retention, use of synthetic materials, and interaction with natural biodiversity.
Our participation in the Earth Day Fairs allowed us to gather data from a larger audience and also promote environmental awareness within the UCLA community. The Earth Day Fairs demonstrate that not only is the ESLP ART program a research-based program, but that it is ultimately rooted in public education. We are excited to analyze the data we gathered from the UCLA community and hopefully see the implementation of more artificial turf on campus!