Clean sphere, student wellness and monarch truffles

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Earth Day has been celebrated at Black Hawk College since 2011, with activities and participation varying from year to year. Planning for this year’s event, held April 22, began several months ago with the help of campus clubs Clean Sphere and Student Wellness. A local non-profit, River Bend Wildland Trust, was invited to be a part of the event as well. They provided supplies and education for making Monarch Truffles that could be donated to Black Hawk College prairie and wooded areas.

Members of the Student Leadership Council (SLC) were instructed on how to make the Monarch Truffles prior to the event so they could help students during the event from 11am-1pm. Clean Sphere club members were on hand to talk about planting healthy foods and handed out homemade all purpose cleaner with instructions for making other homemade cleaning products. Student Wellness Club members were available to provide education about how easy it can be to integrate healthy changes into an already busy lifestyle.

Amber, from the Wellness Club, explained that exercise doesn’t have to be a big production or cost a lot of money to be effective. In addition, when people choose to walk or ride their bike to regular destinations like work or school, not only does it benefit them, but it also helps the environment. Amber explained that the Student Wellness Club meets about every three weeks in the lobby of Building 2.

She said that she enjoys being a part of the group stating, “They help you find easy ways to exercise in your day-to-day circumstances, and they help provide us with a healthy view of food.” (More information about the Student Wellness club is available at They are also on Facebook under BHC Wellness Club.) Contact advisor Dr. Xixuan Collins at 796-5269 or for more information.

Jenny Fowler, President of Clean Sphere, had a table set up with supplies for making starter plants for basil, radish, lettuce, and spinach. Students were able to fill egg carton portions with fresh soil and the seeds provided by Clean Sphere to take home. At another table members of the group were handing out homemade all-purpose cleaner and talked about the importance of using cleaners without harsh chemicals.

Fowler said that Clean Sphere meets about every two weeks, and  they also look for opportunities to work on environmental projects together. She added, “It’s nice to meet with other people and talk about things we are equally passionate about.” (More information about Clean Sphere can be found at and on Facebook under BHC Clean Sphere.) Contact advisor Marilynn Bartels at 796-5235 or for more information.

River Bend Wildland Trust provided education and supplies for creating Monarch Truffles. They also had literature (created with the help of Black Hawk’s Art 246 Graphic Design class) that explained the purpose of and instructions for making Monarch Truffles at home. “Our goal in promoting Monarch Truffles is to educate the public on how to help the monarch butterfuly population as well as protect and restore pollinator habitats.” (For more information about River Bend Wildland Trust, visit their website at and find them on Facebook.)

Tiffany Hamilton  stated that this year’s Earth Day event was especially successful because of the cooperation with River Bend Wildland Trust. Students enjoyed getting their hands dirty to make these treats to draw butterflies and other pollinators. The overall purpose behind Earth Day resonates with people from all walks of life. “We have a lot of faculty, staff, and students who feel very passionate about the earth, so it is a great event to host at Black Hawk College,” remarked Hamilton.

Food for this event was provided by Antonella’s Pizzeria. Members of SLC helped serve pasta, breadsticks and salad to students who filled their sticker cards by participating in the various activities surrounding the theme of Earth Day. Hamilton explained that they enjoy food from Antonella’s because they use all locally grown produce.