UNITY — Jenni Baldino frantically peddled her Big Wheel across the finish line to win the highlight event Saturday at an Earth Day celebration Saturday at Unity College.

At just under 5 feet tall, the 22-year-old from Woodstock, Conn., admitted she had an unfair advantage over her fellow Unity students.

“My short legs allow me to reach the peddles,” Baldino said of her mastery of the Big Wheel, a small three-wheeled plastic toy.

Although he competed in the popular annual race, which he won last year, Eli Walker said he returned to the pre-Earth Day event on campus for more than a wild ride down a hill on a tricycle.

“It’s pretty cool how everybody comes together to talk about the environment,” Walker, 19, said.

Students set up booths on everything from organic foods to alternative energy, with the displays being the result of year-long capstone projects for environmental courses at Unity.

Community members and students brought water samples to test for dangerous chemicals, tasted organic foods and tie-dyed T-shirts. It was a warm-up celebration before Earth Day on Friday, according to student organizers.

Haley Emery challenged people to taste the difference between organic milk and “commercial” brand milk. Most people picked the organic milk in the blind taste test at her booth, according to Emery, 21.

“We’re trying to get the word out on MOO-Milk,” she said, referring to Maine’s Own Organic milk, a dairy farm co-op with partner farms from across Maine.

Emery grew up on a small family dairy farm in Dover-Foxcroft. The Unity junior said she is studying sustainable agriculture and wants to open her own dairy farm.

She said she thought up the project, which was for an environmental citizenship class, with other students who have ties to dairy farming.

“We want to get more people buying local and supporting your local dairy farms because they’re in decline,” Emery said of small local farms.

Regi O’Brien served up organic ice cream, with cups and spoons made of recycled corn starch, behind a table with maps showing local food producers in Maine.

“We try very hard to get it from Maine,” said O’ Brien, a Unity senior from Biddeford.

Walker said he changed his views on the environment and Earth Day when he got to Unity, which uses the motto “America’s Environmental College.”

“It was just another day before I came to Unity, I was never really focused on the environmental issues,” he said, referring to his love of nature and lack of awareness as a freshman last year.

Now Walker, of Locust Grove, Ga., said he is studying wildlife biology and captive wildlife care.

After checking out some of the displays Saturday, Walker said, “Just being here, I’ve already learned so many new things about the environment.”

About 40 people attended the celebration Saturday outside the student center on the Unity College campus. There are more events scheduled for students on campus for the official Earth Day on Friday.

David Robinson — 861-9287

[email protected]

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.